As the CBA negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA have proceeded (if that's what you could call it), both sides have periodically "updated" the fans through comments to the media.
I'm confident I speak for most fans when I say the appeals to win our support through finger-pointing and misleading comments are a lost cause.
After each meeting of "no progress," both sides do everything they can to shift the blame.
The players say they want to play and that it's the owners who won't let them. They say they conceded last time and the owners are bullying them by asking for more.
On the owners' side, they claim they were willing to begin negotiations earlier and the Players' Association stalled.
Most recently, Gary Bettman and the owners have been saying that they've made considerable changes to their initial proposal and the players haven't budged at all.
Now, don't get me wrong. I am not siding with the players here, or the owners for that matter. But this comment really irks me.
The NHL has made considerable changes to their initial offer in comparison to the players. What they fail to mention is that the NHL's first offer was absurd. It was an unrealistic demand with no expectation of being met.
Of course this is negotiation 101. You start high and work your way down. Did the NHL take that concept a bit over the top? Yes.
But the PA didn't follow that strategy. They started with a concession, and have even made a few changes since. As Chris Campoli put it from this CBC article,
"I just think they took such an aggressive stance with their first proposal," said Campoli. "We could have taken an aggressive stance the other way and we didn't. You know, we want to fix the systematic issues they have with the way things are run and I think we're being more than fair."
I, like any other fan, want to know how the negotiations are going and when the season can get underway. I'd love it if the NHL and NHLPA could give honest updates of the progress made, but it seems clear that isn't possible.
If talking to the media means pointing fingers as they've been doing, then stop. Stop wasting your time and energy appealing to a group you've already betrayed, and start doing your job. Negotiate.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!