It’s been over 12 hours since the lockout officially began. Today, the league released this message to it’s fans:
Despite the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the National Hockey League has been, and remains, committed to negotiating around the clock to reach a new CBA that is fair to the Players and to the 30 NHL teams.
Thanks to the conditions fostered by seven seasons under the previous CBA, competitive balance has created arguably the most meaningful regular season in pro sports; a different team has won the Stanley Cup every year; fans and sponsors have agreed the game is at its best, and the League has generated remarkable growth and momentum. While our last CBA negotiation resulted in a seismic change in the League’s economic system, and produced corresponding on-ice benefits, our current negotiation is focused on a fairer and more sustainable division of revenues with the Players — as well as other necessary adjustments consistent with the objectives of the economic system we developed jointly with the NHL Players’ Association seven years ago. Those adjustments are attainable through sensible, focused negotiation — not through rhetoric.
This is a time of year for all attention to be focused on the ice, not on a meeting room. The League, the Clubs and the Players all have a stake in resolving our bargaining issues appropriately and getting the puck dropped as soon as possible. We owe it to each other, to the game and, most of all, to the fans.
They lose us with the first sentence that says the league remains committed to negotiating, as it was the league that refused to meet yesterday for last-minute negotiations. Also, in a message full of rhetoric, they condemn negotiating via rhetoric.
As frustrating as it is to watch the league force a lockout and refuse to attempt real negotiations with the Players’ Association (who have made real attempts at negotiation and compromise), it’s even more frustrating to read messages like this from the league telling us that they’re doing it for our own benefit.
Let’s see just how far the owners are willing to take this disaster.
For what it’s worth, here is the NHLPA’s video message to its fans:
Jer is ready for the lockout to end. Follow him on Twitter @JerMeansWell.