Aug 30, 2012, 10:59 AM EDT
Whichever side is “right” in the NHL’s labor dispute, we know this much is true – unlike the lead-up to the 2004-05 lockout that canceled an entire season, the large majority of fans are on the players’ side of the dispute.
In a recent PHT poll, 82 percent of respondents said they support the NHLPA versus the owners.
The Globe and Mail’s Bruce Dowbiggin suggested public opinion was the reason the league presented its latest proposal to the players.
“[NHL commissioner Gary] Bettman and his bosses have discovered in the last two weeks that they’ve overplayed their hand with the public,” wrote Dowbiggin.
Of course, others have argued the NHL’s new proposal doesn’t mark any progression in the negotiations whatsoever.
One fan is even pushing a “fan strike” if there’s no agreement by Sept. 15 when the current CBA expires.
All are admirable pursuits, but can fans really do anything to advance negotiations? Do the owners and players even care what the paying customer thinks, or do they just assume the fans will come back whenever the puck drops?
Bettman has said the NHL recovered from the last lockout “because we have the world’s greatest fans.”
Wrote Dowbiggin in another column, “The commish meant this as a compliment, of course. An honest reading of this beauty is more like: ‘If you fans weren’t such doormats, I might be worried.’”
NHLPA chief Donald Fehr sure seems to think public opinion is worth fighting for. Why else would the players keep hammering the “we’re not the ones talking lockout, that’s the owners” angle when speaking to the media? That may be true, but there’s no doubt the repetition is part of a planned PR strategy. One, we should add, that’s been quite successful so far.
OK, so let’s get to the poll question.
- Gettin’ paid: Gardiner inks five-year, $20.25M extension with Leafs 8
- Report: Trottier to join Sabres’ coaching staff 8
- Blues sign former eighth overall pick Mueller 25
- Trotz plans to let Johansson, Kuznetsov, and Burakovsky compete for time at center 40
- Eric Staal has surgery to repair ‘core muscle injury’ 6
- After not seeing ‘eye-to-eye’ with Carlyle, Reimer will compete for No. 1 gig 16
- Two down, one to go: Wings ink Tatar to three-year, $8.25M deal 12
- Cashing in: Rangers sign Brassard to five-year, $25 million deal 63
- Subban not eager to discuss contract talks 34
- Leafs re-sign Reimer — two years, $4.6 million 22
- Cashing in: Rangers sign Brassard to five-year, $25 million deal (63)
- Avs and O’Reilly agree on two-year deal, but questions remain (45)
- Trotz plans to let Johansson, Kuznetsov, and Burakovsky compete for time at center (43)
- New Caps regime plans to keep Ovechkin at RW (for now) (42)
- Rangers and Kreider avoid arbitration, agree on two-year deal (39)