Later this week, the NHLPA will be trotting out some 300 NHL players in New York for the final stages of the CBA talks, and picking up the expenses of the guys who make the trip.
I cannot for the life of me figure out what the point of this is. We get it guys, you’re together in this.
A number of articles have been written, including some on this very site, about fans helplessness in the whole Looming Lockout situation. We’re helpless, because we’re irrelevant to the negotiation of a major business deal. People don’t settle for millions less than they can get because they suddenly develop a soft spot spurred on by a hashtag. Thus, the public relations battle means nothing to those doing the deal, meaning the aforementioned PR war isn’t even a thing, and if it is, it’s only being fought by one side.
There will be no concessions because we all really, really, really want there to be hockey, no matter how many businesses you boycott, or videos you make, etc, etc.
Which is precisely why having the players out to stand behind Donald Fehr means tiddlywinks too. Is there any chance the owners go over the NHLPA’s latest offer and say “Well, we weren’t going settle for your deal, but now that you flew a bunch of humans out here for a photoshoot, WE SEE HOW SERIOUS YOU ARE AND ACCEPT YOUR OFFER?” Negative. The players’ presence has the same value as the hashtag. As fun as it is to imagine them in the boardroom discussing deal details, the fact is that they’ve got about as much say in things at this point as you or I.
So maybe it’s for the whole “PR battle” we’ve already noted doesn’t exist, but maybe the PA thinks it does. If that’s the case, why are they working so hard to get the fans on their side? NHL players are the players, the guys we get to know, we buy their jerseys, we’re already big fans. Most of us couldn’t care less about the owners, let alone pick one out of a line-up.
Yet they still keep tweeting “We just want to play,” “Let us play,” “The owners won’t let us play.” Yeah, they won’t because the lawyers are still negotiating, so sit here with the rest of us, grab a cup of cocoa, and wait to find out if there’s going to be a season or not. We’re with you. Just stop parading around like a kid in the kitchen saying “I’m helping, right Mommy?”
Yesterday, Josh Gorges did a conference call where, from what I heard, he basically read talking points to the media. Josh Gorges? No offense to Josh, but I know the guy a little, and I don’t think he spends a ton of his free-time going over Quebec labour laws. Why not have some team rep explain things to the media? What’s with the need for inclusion in this?
So we’ve gone from over-simplifying things (“We just want to play!”), to over-complicating them (mistaking the players for lawyers), and in the end, none of it matters. A group of men who know about these complex arrangements are hashing out the numbers, and the presence of 1000 NHLers isn’t going to speed up the process any. The posturing is a waste of time.
Some day, an agreement will be reached. Whether that comes in October, December or 2013, they’ll get there. And when they do, it certainly won’t be because the players flew across the continent to stand behind a guy who was in town to actually do some work.