Fickle Fans

In every game, there are players.  Not just athletes running, skating, or jumping around as part of the spectacle of regulated entertainment warfare, but everyone who takes a part in making that that matchup something of value.  The NHL lockout is no different.

The owners, the players, the fans.  They all play a role in the NHL and every game won or lost in a season.  The common denominator between a game and this lockout is that “us v. them” mentality, the rivalry, the side we choose to back.

This lockout has been a flip-flopping PR mess for the NHL and NHLPA as #thefans radically change their minds with every passing week and tabled proposal.

From my perusal of the “Twitterverse”, I’ve come up with the most common ways this lockout is being taken in by the masses:

  • Gary Bettman is evil and hates hockey.
  • Donald Fehr is an idiot.
  • The NHL owners are greedy monsters who take and take and take, so hide yo kids, hide yo wives…
  • The players are overpaid greedy babies who should just play already because Joe Schmo Hockey Fan would do it for free and won’t let you forget it.
  • The NHL doesn’t care about the fans.
  • The players are lying about caring about the fans.
  • This lockout sucks… unless you are a basketball fan.

Personally I don’t agree with any of the above, minus the lockout sucking part, but that is how fans are overwhelmingly voicing themselves online.  The really fascinating part comes when you pay attention to how fan opinions of either side have dramatically switched with every ripple in these CBA negotiations.

The weeks leading up to the September 15 deadline there was frustration launched at both parties.  Once the lockout was officially announced, the players became the victims and played to the sympathies of the fans through tear jerking (unless that’s just me) video, and the Bettman hate really began to fly.  When the preseason was cancelled, fans called for the heads of the owners.  When the NHLPA turned down another NHL proposal the players became increasingly greedy, and the flip-flop continued.

Then things got really interesting this past week when the NHL conquered the hearts of fans with a 50/50 HRR split share deal on Tuesday, tantalizing our hockey-less lives with the idea of a full 82 game season starting Nov 2.    Fans were quick to jump up and at the throats of players if this deal was not taken.  It wasn’t.  The three counter proposals of the NHLPA presented two days later did little to excite the owners or the fans, who are left divided once again in their cries against the lockout.

Some fans are angry:

Some fans are sensible:

Some fans are upset:

And some are just dumb:

While it is completely understandable to be a passionate fan who is upset with the fact that we are already out one month of hockey with the recent announcement that all regular season games are cancelled through Nov 1 (WHICH, still provides room for a full 82 games season if an agreement can be met within the next week between the two sides allowing for a full week of training camp before Nov 2), it’s just interesting to see how our loyalties change with the ebb and flow of these negotiations.  If you have to pick a side, pick the side of hockey.  Love the sport, stay loyal to the sport.  The money, the players, the owners, that will all work itself out.  There are still plenty of pucks dropping around the world.

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