Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Coping with a lockout: do what is meaningful to you

From the land of, "Holy *#$%@&, I haven't been this sick in over a year, and it's been two bloody weeks with this virus" land (sorry)...

At this point, it appears that a lockout is all but inevitable, and that we're at least going to miss a couple of months of hockey given that--as TSN's Darren Dreger and player agent Allan Walsh have noted--the NHL chose to change the definition of hockey-related revenues in its proposals, yielding a necessary translation from Finnish to Swahili every time the two sides talk about cutting up the pie.

Honestly, cut off from the news and on my back while ill, that's the thought that keeps going through my mind: it took almost ten months for the NHL and NHLPA to open those books and agree upon what constituted hockey-related revenues and what was outside the realm of split dollars in 2004-2005, and by choosing to change the definition of what constitutes a penny subject to divvying up, what doesn't, and then for Gary Bettman to call the 100,000+ pages of independently-audited books "irrelevant"...

That was it, way back in July, that was it. In a lockout that is all about greed on the owners' parts this time, the die was cast when the NHL chose to start speaking to its players in a language that needed forensic accountants to translate into what had been accepted economic parlance for the previous seven years.

Anyway...

Of the little news I've been able to survey while bedridden, I have seen, over and over again, pundits and even people who were passionately engaged in protests during the last lockout telling fans who have started petitions, crafted YouTube videos, are organizing boycotts and gatherings to voice their discontent to get over yourselves and accept that you are completely and utterly powerless to affect change, and can only sit back and endure the ride.

Is that true?

Probably.

Regardless of how hard we protest, how many sponsors we boycott, how many rinks we show up at and protest for the sake of the game-night employees and concessions staff who are being screwed most blatantly by this money grab on the part of the billionaires intent upon a bailout from their millionaire talent that brings money-paying fans to rinks, to sports bars, to memorabilia-selling shops...Regardless of the petitions, songs, videos, and any other creative means of protest we fans think up to make it through what is very literally going to be a grieving process, grieving hockey and perhaps grieving a bit of innocence in believing that the owners of the teams we cheer for and the employers of the players whose names adorn our jerseys, t-shirts, hats and posters on our walls gave a shit about us...

I don't expect Facebook pages, Twitter campaigns, protests, nothing to affect change, nor do I expect sponsor boycotts to do much other than hurt the people who are already going to be hurting for business sans the advertising we see on the boards, in the stands and watch on TV and listen to on the radio during games.

That being said?

This is going to be a greiving process, a period of time in which we fans are going to feel incredibly powerless, and there is one thing we can do to affect change:

Get through this, together, in any way that we find meaningful--and in a way that we can effectively find a voice for our frustrations, disapproval and discontent for lockouts-as-a-matter-of-course.

Will being loud and annoying affect the course of negotiations?

Will spending time, energy and effort engaging in activities that probably won't cut a second off this "work stoppage" matter?

If it matters to you, hell *#$%@& yes. If it makes you feel like more than a lone fan cast adrift in a sea of business stupidity, hell *#$%@& yes.

What we fans have, the reason we spend so much time, energy, effort and especially money following NHL teams and NHLPA members is because hockey is more than a game to us. It's a passion, it's a religion for some of us, it's a way of life, and the vicarious living through watching professional athletes play a kids' game for a living makes us feel like we're part of something that's bigger than ourselves, like we're part of a community of like-minded fans.

That's special. That's important. That's meaningful. And it matters. During however long this lockout takes, we remain part of communities of Red Wings fans, of--God forbid--Penguins fans, you name it, we are hockey fans, we are NHL hockey fans, and while we may not be able to affect CBA change, we can help each other get through this.

And we can be loud, annoying, persistent, angry, upset, disappointed, we can express ourselves on Facebook, on Twitter, online, and regardless of whether we're the first person to think up an idea or petition-starter 8 billion and twelve, what we say will matter to us and matter to our community.

Whatever we create will serve as a means by which we can get through, and, in the odd circumstance, maybe even be heard and be seen as something more than a walking dollar sign.

That's more than powerful enough in my book, more than worth the effort.

Don't despair, don't give up and just "endure the ride," and please don't stop fighting against the tide, even if its sweep across us is inevitable.

Because if we don't have anyone to believe in, we may as well believe in ourselves.

I'll talk in more concrete terms when I'm able to. For now it's back to dealing with the East Nile Virus or whatever the *#$%@& I've got. But I'm still here and I promise that one way or another, TMR readers...We're gonna find a way to get through this together, and to make ourselves heard...And it doesn't *#$%@& matter whether what we hockey fans say or do will affect collective bargaining change.

It will help us get through, help us get through this together, and maybe even get a Sidney Crosby fan and a Jimmy Howard fan standing in front of the NHL headquarters in New York or the NHL and NHLPA's offices in Toronto sometime this month or next month, taking inspiration from Predators fans' chants, and, for once, chanting something appropriate, like:

Gary is a baby, Gary is a baby, YOU SUCK!

Because he and the owners suck big, hairy, sweaty donkey balls right now, and I think they ought to know that. Including Mike Ilitch, frankly. There is no excuse for this, and one way or another, voicing our discontent can at least serve as an annoying buzz of background noise.

Sometimes there ain't nothin' wrong with being the irritating, persistent buzzing fly that can't be slapped.

 

In the words of Bono, "It's no secret that a conscience can sometimes be a pest"...And it's time to become that pest.

Update: after having read Paul's post from Eric Duhatschek, who suggests that fans can only affect change by not coming back to the NHL?

We'll worry about that fact of life later. The whole *#$%@& point here--for me, anyway--is that I'm not ashamed to admit "hypocrisy" in suggesting that I'm too bloody passionate about and entwined with the game and my identity as a Red Wings fan to walk away, and we will have to have a long talk about what we're going to do when we come back, and how we'll ensure that "coming back" is not tacit acceptance of this whole process. We need to have a long talk about how we can affect change over the long haul, once the games are back on.

But I don't believe there is any shame in not only being but remaining a fan of your favorite team and your favorite players. We'll figure out how to make sure our dollars are conditional over the course of time.

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Comments

joedaiceman's avatar

George - you can lay all this on the owners until the cows come home. You are just buying into the 99% mentality. Simply, all the owners in this game have to make a profit or you cannot attract owners and the game will go away permanently. Is it a money grab from the palyers? Damn right it is. When the workers take 57% of all your revenue that is were you have to find the savings.

Posted by joedaiceman on 09/10/12 at 10:07 PM ET

jimathor's avatar

I’m starting to feel a tiny bit better about not booking flights for the Winter Classic now. Meanwhile, the European leagues are just about to start, here in the UK we’re just getting through the last few pre-season games. If anyone needs to get their fix that way you’re more than welcome to stay!

I’m also going out to Berlin to see a couple of games in the new year.

I can totally cope without the Wings for a while. I can. I can.

Can’t I?

George - Sorry to hear you’re ill. As we continually say, take some time, get some rest. Let’s face it, there ain’t a lot going on on the scale of things.

Posted by jimathor from The land of Sir Humblepatch of Bumblehound on 09/10/12 at 10:16 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I feel what’re you sayin’ George and I agree.  Anymore seems people are caught up in the results when it’s really the process that holds the merit.  Unruly fans probably wont make an impact but there’s something to be said for the effort, regardless if the high and mighty wealthy aristocracy give a damn (they dont) or not.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 09/10/12 at 10:20 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Great writeup George.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/10/12 at 10:30 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Posted by joedaiceman on 09/10/12 at 11:07 PM ET

Are we going to ignore the fact that the NHL expanded to non-traditional markets?

Are we going to ignore the fact the NHL in 04-05 locked out an entire season for the first time among the major pro sports in NA for the current CBA?  The one they don’t want now?

Are we going to ignore the fact that owners/ownership groups totalling probably around 50-100 people (and I think that’s pretty generous considering I’m not knowledgable on the exact amount of owners there are in the NHL) are dividing up 43% of the total pie, vs the roughly 730 NHL’ers it’s divided between?

Sure, if you ignore all those things then yes, we’re just buying into the 99%‘ers viewpoint.  OR we can put it in context and understand how we got here.

I GUARANTEE if you company came out and said, listen the president isn’t making enough profit, everyone take a 24% paycut (considering you’re lucky to get a 3% anual raise at most jobs IF they even give you reviews anymore.  My company just decided not to do them and cut our christmas bonuses more and more every year, even before the financial collapse.. and I work in DoD contracting…)  you’d be pissed and wouldn’t take it lying down.  Unless you completely do not value yourself, like these billionaires.

Oh, did I mention these are CONTRACTS?  Wouldn’t it be nice if you made a contract with someone and because they had wealth and power, they got to reneg on them, leaving you to just accept it?  Don’t want to be a 99%‘er right?

Here’s an idea.  If the owners are serious about salary cuts being THE ONLY way they can save money and THE ONLY solution to the problem and that the players aren’t worth the contracts they made with them (I know, it’s already idiocy at this point) then why not get more affordable hockey players in there?  If the current players aren’t worth their contracts, meaning they’re skill doesn’t justify they’re paycheck, they’re ability to bring in fans don’t justify the paycheck, then bring in some “replacements” from other leagues who’ll play for pennies on the dollar.  Let all the current talent try to “justify” they’re worth somewhere else since they’re obviously dragging you down in the NHL.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 09/10/12 at 10:32 PM ET

Dakkster's avatar

joedaiceman, do you realize that without the players the owners don’t have a product?

Posted by Dakkster from Southern Sweden on 09/10/12 at 10:45 PM ET

Dakkster's avatar

George, what are your thoughts on the statements by Bill Daly about how NHL fans are just uninformed ramblers on Twitter? I think it shows the contempt for its fans that the league ownership has. Daly and Bettman are just the figureheads.

Posted by Dakkster from Southern Sweden on 09/10/12 at 10:48 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

Here is another good article by TSN’s Bob McKenzie which is fairly in depth.

Glad to see your back, George!

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=404989#YourCallTop

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 09/10/12 at 11:04 PM ET

DocF's avatar

Well, I am doing my part to affect change.  I am done.  With the owners having so little respect for the players and the fans that they intend to lock out the workers on Friday, I am totally disgusted.  When I reach that point, I am done as a two bit steak.

I hope Bettman has a continuous orgasm as he costs the game I love another season.

Doc

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 09/10/12 at 11:14 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

Im out of thoughts and words anymore than I write here. In the meantime, GO LIONS!

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 09/10/12 at 11:27 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Daly’s comments to Craig Custance are…typical for him. He’s a thug.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/11/12 at 12:26 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Also: not quite “back” yet. Fighting off nausea after my first “pop run” in two weeks…This virus is fighting hard. I will be back soon, but I can’t put a date on it. This has sucked mightily.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/11/12 at 12:58 AM ET

Chet's avatar

We’ll figure out how to make sure our dollars are conditional over the course of time.

there’s not much else to talk about. thoughts, anyone?

here are a few:

- refuse to buy center ice
- refuse to attend games
- refuse to buy from any NHL advertiser

it’s tough, i admit, to think i’d start skipping games because of a lockout, but that’s how pissed i am. i want them to understand i cannot and will not follow a league that has a lockout once a decade.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 09/11/12 at 01:26 AM ET

Avatar

When Bettman has made his (latest of many) big PR mistake is in pushing so deeply past a 50-50 split.  If he offered that and the players passed on it, assuming nothing shady goes down with the designation of revenues, then the players would look like the greedy ones, not the owners.

That aside, if getting fired up and active online makes hockey fans feel like they are a part of the process and in some way serves to fill the void left by what’s looking like a year-plus absence of NHL hockey, more power to ‘em.

My point throughout all of this is that such behavior has absolutely no real impact on the process.  None at all.  The benefits to that kind of engagement of emotion comes solely from within the mind of the person doing the protesting.

If that’s enough of a reason to do it, if firing off both shotgun barrels of one’s righteous indignation directly into the NHL (or NHLPA’s) teeth leads to a feeling of accomplishment, have at them.

Personally, I did the math the better part of a decade ago and decided that I could buy a great home setup for about 5% of the cost of 6-7 years worth of tickets to the sports I like.  I go to maybe 5 live pro sporting events a year, tops, spread out across all sports.

And none of those sports could care less that I stopped buying season tickets of some variety to Michigan hockey, the Tigers, and the Wings.  They can get my eyeballs on their televised commercials, which is good enough for them.

To respond to a few of the earlier comments:

“joedaiceman, do you realize that without the players the owners don’t have a product?”

While that’s technically true, it’s only effective as a bargaining tool when the owners stand to lose more as a result of said product’s absence than do the players.  I’m not 100% positive about this, but I’d wager pretty heavily that there aren’t any NHL owners whose entire business is comprised by their NHL franchise.  The point being, the presence or absence of NHL hockey isn’t going to dramatically impact their ability to earn money, generally speaking.  The players…?

Are we going to ignore the fact that owners/ownership groups totalling probably around 50-100 people (and I think that’s pretty generous considering I’m not knowledgable on the exact amount of owners there are in the NHL) are dividing up 43% of the total pie, vs the roughly 730 NHL’ers it’s divided between?

I don’t think that’s a very accurate description.  Technically yes, there are a few amount of owners vs. a larger (but still small) group of players.  However, since owners are responsible for paying coaches, trainers, office staffs, stadium staffs, management and who knows what else, I think it would be accurate to include those people as being among those ‘splitting up’ the owners share.

I’m sure players also have dependents with whom they split their share (notably agents), but if we’re just talking raw populations the people who dip their beaks in the owners portion of revenue exceeds those in the players side by a whole bunch.

I GUARANTEE if you company came out and said, listen the president isn’t making enough profit, everyone take a 24% paycut (considering you’re lucky to get a 3% anual raise at most jobs IF they even give you reviews anymore.  My company just decided not to do them and cut our christmas bonuses more and more every year, even before the financial collapse.. and I work in DoD contracting…)  you’d be pissed and wouldn’t take it lying down.  Unless you completely do not value yourself, like these billionaires.

False equivalence.  Your example presumes there are alternative venues for NHLers to go which would pay them similarly, and there’s really not.  In your example if Company X isn’t treating you fairly there are usually similar companies in similar fields to whom you can go and attempt to secure competing offers for your services.  You could then compare those offers and select the one you like the most, and off you go.

I would hazard a bet that even if the NHL paid the players the 43 or 46 or whatever % they are offering that those salary offers from NHL teams would still dwarf any other opportunity they might have beyond a few isolated cases here and there, of course.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/11/12 at 05:49 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

there’s not much else to talk about. thoughts, anyone?

here are a few:

- refuse to buy center ice
- refuse to attend games
- refuse to buy from any NHL advertiser

it’s tough, i admit, to think i’d start skipping games because of a lockout, but that’s how pissed i am. i want them to understand i cannot and will not follow a league that has a lockout once a decade.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 09/11/12 at 02:26 AM ET

Me likey.
This is what I’m going to do:
1. All of what you said except I won’t know who the NHL advertisers will be.
2. I will attend a lot more Griffins and Ferris State Bulldogs games.
3. I will save a lot of money because I won’t have to get cable for the winter.
4. I will save a lot of money NOT buying Wings’ tickets 2-8 times a yr.
5. I can actually work on my project car this winter instead of sitting in front of a tv screen.
6. Be happy smile

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 09/11/12 at 08:12 AM ET

Cwix's avatar

What ALL NHL fans should do is boycott the first game across the board. That would send a huge message that NHL fans are not pleased. I totally agree that there’s not much we can do right now but maybe it would give the owners pause in the future. It would also be a big news story. My two cents…

Posted by Cwix from Grand Rapids, now Chicago, IL on 09/11/12 at 08:35 AM ET

Avatar

My point throughout all of this is that such behavior has absolutely no real impact on the process.  None at all.

Much like posting an opinion on blogs and message boards, but we do it anyway. Correct?

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 09/11/12 at 08:39 AM ET

Avatar

Much like posting an opinion on blogs and message boards, but we do it anyway. Correct?

Right, but we don’t do so with the idea that our posting effects any kinds of change or makes any kind of lasting difference in pretty much anything, do we?  We do it (as far as I am aware) because it’s a time filler, it’s fun to do, etc.

In that way it’s exactly the same thing as blasting outrage beams of gamma energy out of our eyes at the NHL, or whoever.

If it’s ‘fun’, or at least if it makes people feel better… hey, great.  Fire all torpedoes.

If people are doing this because they actually think it matters, and are getting themselves all a-flutter because they think they are fighting for a cause, and are doing it even though it bugs them… stop immediately.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/11/12 at 09:18 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

My point throughout all of this is that such behavior has absolutely no real impact on the process.  None at all.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/11/12 at 06:49 AM ET

Yes, yes, you keep making this point.  What you don’t get is that my decision to no longer spend my hard-earned dollars on anything NHL has nothing to do with having an impact on the league.  It is simply that I will no longer feel like a sucker.  Do you get that?

And none of those sports could care less that I stopped buying season tickets of some variety to Michigan hockey, the Tigers, and the Wings.  They can get my eyeballs on their televised commercials, which is good enough for them.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/11/12 at 06:49 AM ET

If and when hockey starts again, I will listen to Ken and Paul on radio.  And I don’t live in Michigan, so their advertisers will not benefit from me.  If I watch on TV, I don’t even watch the commercials. 

Again, I’ll remain a Red Wings fan but, as far as I am able, I will no longer give money to the NHL.  That is for me, not because I think it will hurt the NHL.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 09/11/12 at 10:07 AM ET

Keyser S.'s avatar

As much as I’d love to boycott the games, I can’t due to our great organization and mike illitch. What he’s done for detroit is far greater than any lockout. And who knows, maybe he doesn’t agree with what the owners are doing. Wing fan first, hockey fan second.

Posted by Keyser S. on 09/11/12 at 10:10 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Oh, George - glad to see you!  I was worried.  Hope you continue to get better.  Might as well rest while you can.  Write when you feel up to it.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 09/11/12 at 10:10 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Yes, yes, you keep making this point.  What you don’t get is that my decision to no longer spend my hard-earned dollars on anything NHL has nothing to do with having an impact on the league.  It is simply that I will no longer feel like a sucker.  Do you get that?

This ^^^^

Again, I’ll remain a Red Wings fan but, as far as I am able, I will no longer give money to the NHL.  That is for me, not because I think it will hurt the NHL.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Homer’s Office on 09/11/12 at 11:07 AM ET

And this ^^^

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 09/11/12 at 10:48 AM ET

Avatar

Right, but we don’t do so with the idea that our posting effects any kinds of change or makes any kind of lasting difference in pretty much anything, do we?

The difference to me is that if I don’t spend money on the NHL, I have more money to spend on other things that I enjoy. So it has a more direct corrollary to my happiness than mere blogpsphere posturing. I’m not starting a campaign, I’m just telling others what I will do and have done in the past. I can live with my plan without any hypocrisy and why I decided on my course of action.  I couldn’t care less about “the NHL or NHLPA process” at this point only my own.

And if we didn’t think our comments had any affect at all, at least on the opinions of others that read them,  then we would write our thoughts in our diaries instead and keep our thoughts private. The NHL’s reaction to the twitterverse seems to make me think, at whatever miniscule level, that it does indeed seem to get into their thoughts as well.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 09/11/12 at 11:36 AM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Correct me if I have any of the facts incorrect.

2004-05 season is lost to a lockout. Players cave and accept a hard salary cap, an escrow system (that uses player salaries to guarantee the owners’ make money) and a rollback of the legally binding contracts that the owners freely agreed to pay.

2005-2012 the NHL goes from paying networks to be on TV to a 10 year, $2 billion contract that is the richest in league history. Oh, and attendance and TV ratings also grow substantially during this period.

2012 Owner demand: 1) a new definition of HRI pie (much smaller pie),  2) that players take less than 50% of the new smaller pie, and 3) they agree to another rollback of thelegally binding contracts that the owners freely agreed to pay.

WTF? This isn’t greedy owners vs greedy players. This is all on the owners. This is the 1992 Dream Team vs. Angola in basketball.  It’s not even close to an equal fight.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 09/11/12 at 12:16 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Man, everyone’s perspective is so screwed up.  I can’t wait for this to end so everyone can shut up, the “tentative boycotters” can get off the message boards, and we can get back to cheering on the home team.

Posted by TreKronor on 09/11/12 at 01:37 PM ET

TheFreak's avatar

And now we have an “Occupy NHL” movement…

Posted by TheFreak on 09/11/12 at 01:39 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Man, everyone’s perspective is so screwed up.  I can’t wait for this to end so everyone can shut up, the “tentative boycotters” can get off the message boards, and we can get back to cheering on the home team.

Posted by TreKronor on 09/11/12 at 02:37 PM ET

If you can’t wait for everybody to shut up, perhaps you could start setting a good example for them.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/11/12 at 01:49 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/11/12 at 02:49 PM ET

Ohhh boy that was a good one.  I have been quite quiet, but damn the people are restless.

Posted by TreKronor on 09/11/12 at 02:25 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

but damn the people are restless.

Sure are. 

But hey, if bitching about the bitching makes you feel better, then power to you.  Bitching about the bitching about the bitching makes me feel better, so more power to me. Later, I expect HiHD to come and bitch about the bitching about the bitching to make himself feel better, and more power to him.

Later, RWBill and Calquake might show up and bitch about the bitching about the bitching about the bitching to make himself feel better; more power to him.

If you’re not having fun, you’re at least helping the rest of us do it.  Thanks.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/11/12 at 02:36 PM ET

Dakkster's avatar

WTF? This isn’t greedy owners vs greedy players. This is all on the owners. This is the 1992 Dream Team vs. Angola in basketball.  It’s not even close to an equal fight.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from Warm and sunny SoCal on 09/11/12 at 01:16 PM ET

If you haven’t already done so, I suggest you read this article. It’s about when Bettman negotiated the new CBC contract.

http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/04/03/cbc-vs-nhl-goes-into-overtime/

On July 19, in Montreal, we presented Bettman and Daly with a formal offer. Less than two weeks later, we met again in New York. This time Bettman tabled his revenue model, which had been prepared by an outside group of consultants. The numbers looked absurd to us. They were another world from what we were actually achieving. Bettman, however, seemed quite happy with them.

“So,” he asked, “now that you see how well you should be doing, how much more can you put on the table?”

“These numbers are crazy,” I said. “Your projections are way too aggressive.”

“Maybe you just have a lousy sales force,” he countered.

“We have a good sales force. They have been selling Hockey Night in Canada since the dawn of history. They know the market better than anyone.”

“Our consultants say you are priced too low,” Gary went on. He smiled cheerfully.

At last we agreed that his man, Steven Hatze-Petros, would meet with our head of sales, David Scapillati, to see whether there was a common ground. And in fact they did agree. By the end of the month they had produced a common revenue number, which was much closer to our own.

The next day, I called Bettman. He was his usual sunny self.

“Now,” I said, “since we have agreed on the revenues, we should be able to close.”

“Nope,” he replied.

“Nope?”

“There is no agreement on the revenue number,” he said.

“That can’t be! Scapillati told me that he and Hatze-Petros had agreed.”

“Well, I didn’t.”

Bettman clearly doesn’t give a *#$%@& about facts. He doesn’t give a rat’s ass about anything because he simply will have his way. A lockout should be a last resort. Bettman uses it as a first line negotiating tactic. He’ll take the players and burn them every chance he gets.

Posted by Dakkster from Southern Sweden on 09/11/12 at 03:04 PM ET

Avatar

Yes, yes, you keep making this point.  What you don’t get is that my decision to no longer spend my hard-earned dollars on anything NHL has nothing to do with having an impact on the league.  It is simply that I will no longer feel like a sucker.  Do you get that?

I understand that that is how you are feeling right now, at this moment.  My point is that I suspect that shortly after games resume, if not immediately as they resume, you’re going to feel less stridently about your ‘suckerdom’ and start watching games on TV, then maybe going to a game or two, and then within a reasonable period of time you’ll be back at or near your previous levels of attendance.

There are always exceptions to that kind of thing, though.  As I said, I personally stopped attending many games live anymore, but that had nothing to do with any CBA issues or any ‘sucker’ feeling I had, nor did it have any related incident that made me change my mind.  I just figured out that I’d enjoy the games just as much via another medium, and I’d save myself a boatload of cash and time to boot.

Again, I’ll remain a Red Wings fan but, as far as I am able, I will no longer give money to the NHL.  That is for me, not because I think it will hurt the NHL.

That statement doesn’t appear to be true, though.  If there was no lockout, were you going to reduce the amount of money you spent on the NHL?  It seems the answer to that question would be ‘no’.  If that’s correct, then whether you’re willing to admit it or not the animus generated by the lockout appears to be the motivator behind your decision to reduce your NHL expenditures from wherever they were to zero.

My point is that once the lockout is over, it’s basic human nature that the animus generated by the existence of the lockout will begin to wane.  As it does so, the rationale for not spending any money on the NHL will also begin to weaken.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/11/12 at 03:45 PM ET

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And if we didn’t think our comments had any affect at all, at least on the opinions of others that read them,  then we would write our thoughts in our diaries instead and keep our thoughts private.

I occasionally see this said in one forum or another.  Let me ask you a question: how many times in your life have you held an opinion that was significantly in one direction but reversed it because of a comment you read somewhere online?

That number tends to be amazingly small, in my experience in having people actually answer that question.

In general, people appear to post because they like the feeling of community, or they like to debate issues, or they like to be an *#$%@& in public, or they like to show off how smart they think they are, or all of those at once, or occasionally something else entirely.  At the very least people like to have some indirect interaction in fields they like to discuss.

Changing minds is something that happens so rarely on these forums of communication I have a hard time believing getting people to agree with you is very high on most people’s list.

The NHL’s reaction to the twitterverse seems to make me think, at whatever miniscule level, that it does indeed seem to get into their thoughts as well.

In business it’s not what people tell you, it’s what they actually do.  There’s a reason PR firms exist, and that’s to soften the damage of things that are done and have meaning with words that are said but which have no meaning.  The NHL is no different in this regard.  It costs them nothing to mouth empty platitudes about how much they care for the game, or care for the fans, or want to see hockey this year.

That kind of PR-speak is completely meaningless.

So sure, the NHL may be aware to some degree of fan outrage, but whether or not the NHL was aware of fan outrage was never my point.  My point was that the NHL doesn’t give a crap about fan outrage, whether they are aware of it or not.  They’ll throw some empty words at you and if that’s enough to settle you down, all the better for them.

If not, oh well.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/11/12 at 04:02 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

I understand that that is how you are feeling right now, at this moment.  My point is that I suspect that shortly after games resume, if not immediately as they resume, you’re going to feel less stridently about your ‘suckerdom’ and start watching games on TV, then maybe going to a game or two, and then within a reasonable period of time you’ll be back at or near your previous levels of attendance.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/11/12 at 04:45 PM ET

Well all I can do is feel what I’m feeling right now.  You can suspect whatever you like about what I’ll do later.  I’ll be more than happy to fill you in.

That statement doesn’t appear to be true, though.  If there was no lockout, were you going to reduce the amount of money you spent on the NHL?  It seems the answer to that question would be ‘no’.  If that’s correct, then whether you’re willing to admit it or not the animus generated by the lockout appears to be the motivator behind your decision to reduce your NHL expenditures from wherever they were to zero.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/11/12 at 04:45 PM ET

Bingo!  You got this one right!  Yes, it is the lockout that is the motivator behind my decision.  I never said it wasn’t.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 09/12/12 at 10:57 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.