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Thursday, 22 November 2012

How NHLPA Is Winning the PR Battle

On Wednesday the NHL and NHLPA agreed to meet after the players turned down Gary Bettman's request for a 2 week break. As expected the players submitted a new proposal and in almost predictable fashion it was turned down and met with disappointment. Or so the public is lead to believe. Since the two sides accomplished nothing yesterday, we're staying away from the depressing CBA talk and instead focusing on how and why the NHLPA has been able to win the fans support.

Let's get something straight right off the bat; We the public only hear and see exactly what the two sides want us too, which is why there is so much negativity right now. For whatever reason the two sides have decided to paint the picture that things are not going well and neither side has really compromised. Truthfully I don't think they're as far apart as they would have us believe. Just the same as when Bettman called the fans mindless sheep, the NHL and NHLPA know that we are just pawns in their game. If they tell us too jump we will; how else would you explain the swing in emotions on twitter on Wednesday? Whatever they tell the media gets relayed back to us the fans, and because it first passes through the media it will be dramatized.

Make no mistake, Donald Fehr and the players aren't stupid, they know exactly what they're doing and how they're going to win the fans over in the media so they look good. Don't believe me, let's look over some of the quotes from yesterday's media scrum.

"The players are suffering right along with the fans."

By saying that the players are suffering just as bad as the fans it helps draw the fans into the players world and earns them empathy. Fehr is making the fans believe that they can relate to the players and that the players in turn are relating to the fans. What fan doesn't want to hear that the players are in the same boat as them?

Considering there are at least 100 NHL players who have headed over season to play hockey, I don't think they're suffering at all actually. Another thing to note, is the players are still getting payed during this lockout. Sure they aren't getting any of their $6 million a year, but they are receiving money every week.
"We made an enormous move in the owners' direction to try and end it"

This one is pretty self explanatory. Fehr is telling everyone that his side is working hard to find a solution to the lockout and getting back to playing hockey, not only are they working hard they've made some major concessions to get a deal that is closer to the owners requests. Ironic how various members of the NHLPA started to leak their proposal before they even met with the NHL. Public negotiations aren't going to solve anything.
"The players are making enormous concessions to the owners and we want some protection on the downside"

This quote right here does a fantastic job of pinning everyone against the NHL and Bettman. Fehr is insinuating that the owners haven't backed off at all from their original proposal and wont help compensate the players on the concessions they've made. Truth be told the NHLPA hasn't offered many concessions, their "best offer" from Wednesday wasn't their best, you can almost bet that we'll see another one from the NHLPA.

Now back to the notion that yesterdays proposal was immediately thrown out by the league. The NHLPA's proposal was a HUGE step in the right direction and shows that they are willing to cave slightly to get a deal done. Bettman even acknowledged that this was a big move from the players; " There was movement on some issues by the players' association and that was appreciated." This proposal puts the NHLPA and NHL back in the same universe and talking the same

language. Many of the key points from the proposal are perfect starting blocks for further negotiations as long as the two sides are willing.

But the way Fehr and many of the players have been able to persuade the fans is by doing what they know best, whining. Listen to any Fehr press conference, interview, conversation, heck I imagine he even whines in his text messages, he never stops whining. In the same sense look at the players calling Bettman an idiot and their tweets on twitter, it's just nonsense.

All the players and Fehr do is whine to the media about Bettman and the owners. It's all about how hard done by they are, how the owners are against them and how they feel like they're the only ones negotiating. I don't know whats worse hearing these lies or the people who actually believe what they're being fed! As much as they want us to believe they haven't really given up a lot and the NHL isn't completely ignoring them. When you look at Bettman during a interview or press conference he doesn't blame the other side or complain that it's all them. He tells it like it is; "both sides are still far apart" Because Bettman is more of a realist and doesn't stoop to play the blame game he gets a lot of blame.

Yes I know it's a tactic and they're trying to win the public over by blaming this lockout on the other side, but they are misleading. Maybe just for a second stop listening to everything you hear on TV and see on the internet. Heck I wouldn't believe anything anyone from the NHL or NHLPA let the "media know". The story of the boy who called woof didn't end well, take note NHLPA.

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