Tuesday, the NHLPA did something I feel they have neglected to do through most of the recent CBA negotiations; they voiced their side of the argument.
While the NHL has been the first to post any news on the CBA negotiations, updating the public on their side of the talks has not been a priority of the NHLPA. Now, obviously the owners have PR writers at the ready to fill nhl.com with the latest video and meeting summaries between the two groups (favoring their side), but not getting anything substantive from the other perspective can really hurt the NHLPA’s public opinion.
While trying not to take a side in the actual CBA negotiations that have recently halted, leading us (most unfortunately) to a lockout in less than ten days unless an agreement has been reached, I can agree with this latest post by the NHLPA calling out the common myths and quotes that have been repeatedly used by most reporting media in an almost misleading manner in the past week.
Honestly though, can you blame the media? We don’t, well, at least I don’t, have access to the proposals that have been flung back and fourth between the two groups to work out the math ourselves and truly understand what either party is asking/demanding, and in every interview I have watched (purposefully edited or not) Bettman has been the one giving out solid usable quotes.
When the NHL Commissioner says, “we believe that we made a significant meaningful step,” you can bet your puck that’s going to be a frontrunner in the next day’s article. Now, Gary Bettman is a great guy to have up at the podium for the NHL, because he gives the press something to work with, while not giving away too much, protecting his interests. Not saying Donald Fehr isn’t doing his job up there, but again, I watched the interviews, and looking at my notes, I took a lot less down when Fehr was speaking.
The NHLPA needs to give the public something to work with. Again, I love this latest article, it does a great job of very casually, and in layman’s terms, dispelling some misconceptions that have come up, but it’s a bandaid solution to the real problem.
I try to gather as much information as I can before I write anything, and it was frustrating constantly visiting nhlpa.com seeking opinions and reporting from their view on the CBA talks and finding nothing last week. I want to support my players, and I want to watch hockey, I hate to think there are fans out there who are left frustrated at the idea of a lockout who can easily blame the union because of characterizations like “stonewalling” that get thrown out there with no solid rebuttal.
We need balanced opinions and balanced representation, but we aren’t going to get that if one side is talking louder than the other.