by PuckStopsHere on 01/07/12 at 03:49 PM ET
I first started blogging about hockey during the 2004/05 lockout. One of the main reasons for this was disgust with the mainstream media parroting the NHL propaganda about labor relations. The media needs the NHL to have access to teams. Without this access nothing differentiates them from the blogging world. Worse, many large media outlets also own hockey teams, thus making the conflict of interest more obvious.
The NHL propaganda machine run through the mainstream media convinced a sizeable portion of fans that the 2004/05 lockout was about creating a system of parity in the league when it was actually about owners taking a larger portion of the NHL revenues. Now that the CBA is ending and a new one must be negotiated, the NHL propaganda machine is trying to convince the fans that the NHLPA is out of line by rejecting the realignment proposal. The fact is the NHLPA has done no such thing, by that hasn’t stopped fan outrage.
In December, the NHL announced a realignment plan. This plan was made necessary by the Atlanta Thrashers becoming the Winnipeg Jets. This plan sets up a four conference NHL. Some conferences have seven teams while others have eight. Since the top four teams in each conference would make the playoffs, this opens up obvious questions about fairness of the playoffs. It also looks as though this plan leads to increased travel. The NHL denies this claim saying travel can be more efficient, although no proof has been offered to the fan (and possibly the NHLPA) to support this claim. These were obvious questions to ask. I asked them when the realignment plan was announced. I also pointed out the obvious other point that this plan is not necessarily going to occur since the NHLPA must sign off on it.
The NHL had an arbitrary deadline of last night for the NHLPA to sign off on the plan. The NHLPA has been attempting to investigate the NHL realignment plan but the NHL has not been helpful and appears to be offended that the NHLPA wants to be involved in the process. The NHLPA has asked for a draft 2012/13 schedule that the NHL claims cannot be produced to assess travel claims and has asked for a meeting to discuss the playoff inequalities which has not occurred. As a result, the NHLPA is yet to sign off on the realignment scheme. They have not rejected it. They have not agreed to it yet because the NHL is not helping them to investigate it.
Friday night the NHL released their press release about how the “evil NHLPA” has overstepped its bounds by rejecting the realignment proposal. Outrage ensued. The mainstream media helped to spread the misinformation as fast as possible. This is the NHL’s first strike in what could be another lockout next season in order to negotiate a new CBA. The mere fact it was released on Friday night was important to the propaganda machine. It is the time that everything in the NHLPA is winding down for the week under normal circumstances and yet they must rush to come to the defensive because the weekend media is going to lead with this story whether or not they hear the NHLPA side.
The NHLPA has no leverage in negotiations and will likely have to give up a significant amount of money to the owners in CBA negotiations. The NHL players currently receive 57% of defined revenue. The NBA recently agreed to a CBA where the players get 50% of the defined revenue. Likely this will be the NHL goal in CBA negotiation. The owners want more money. They want it not because they need it but because they think that taking a hardline stance against the players will allow them to get it. If they can turn the fans against the NHLPA by distracting them with propaganda about realignment, that will turn the fans against the players in the potential lockout. That is the motivation for the NHL press release yesterday that was full of nothing but half-truths at best.
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Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.
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