I have a great amount to say about the US Men’s National Soccer Team, but I’m going to wait until later, once they advance, or completely collapse and let Jamaica back into the the current World Cup Qualifiers. I’d like to say a word about the NHL for now.
The NHL and NHLPA have resumed talks, and the NHL has finally become aggressive about compromising with the players and moving on toward ending the lockout. This comes a day after a Deadspin article (a medium which has quickly become a great catalyst in a lot of sports stories) revealed a focus group led by legendary spin man Frank Luntz whose purpose was to get some perspective and fodder for the NHL to create its popularity campaign as the lockout drags on. The league was looking for themes and ideas that could give the owners a bit of compassion in the fans eyes; they wanted us to feel like they want hockey back as much as we do, and that they are trying.
The image of the NHL coming out of the article is, “they would rather spend money trying to pretend they want hockey back, rather than spend money trying to get hockey back.” Now that the cat is out of the bag, the NHL seems to want to talk, and is willing to make some concessions.
We cannot undo the revelation of the focus group, so we need to draw our own conclusions about the league’s intentions.They may have prepared their marketing campaign with a willingness to negotiate in mind, with said willingness acting as another point of compassion for the league. They may legitimately want to end the lockout, and may be looking for a marketing campaign in case the lockout rages on. But it is not impossible to consider that the league may be willing to make concessions because they were outed. It is also tough to let that idea out of my head.
I hope that the Deadspin article has forced the NHL’s hand, and the league will concede major points of contention en route to a resolution; it would bring hockey back, and that’s all that the fans, the consumers, care about. In my opinion, the owners put themselves into this mess, and the players are at the mercy of the owners. One side will not win. But the ball is in the owners’ court, because they are the ones that are keeping us from hockey. If they were as focused on a resolution as they were on looking good in the public eye, some more talking, negotiating and agreeing would likely happen.
Hopefully, the next hockey article is about the anticipation of Opening Night. We’ve already lost the offseason and all that comes with it, I hope my friends and I do not lose the chance to attend Devils games in 2012.