New word of the week: Posturing

December 7, 2012, by

Posturing is preposterous.

I know that we promised not to cover the blow-by-blow of the lockout, but so much has happened over the past few days, it seemed necessary to at least comment on some of the news. If you missed what happened on Tuesday and Wednesday, I’m not going to re-hash it here, read the recap first.

But yesterday, it seemed that all was lost. Any progress made last night was “lost,” as the players and owners went their separate ways with no deal and renewed animosity. All this seemed to happen after a series of events that just left the fans baffled.

News spread that the owners made an offer to the players, and that the players countered based off the owners proposal. That’s good, as they are negotiating off the same principles. The hysteria began when –immediately following the NHLPA offer to the owners– Donald Fehr exclaimed to the press that they were close to a deal, and that he felt it would be done soon.

Of course, that was not the case. Gary Bettman and company left a voicemail for Donald Fehr, rejecting the offer flat-out. No re-negotiations and no talks would resume. Fehr held a press conference explaining the rejection, and that he was disappointed. Soon after, Bettman –who was angrier than anyone had ever seen– also held a press conference expressing his disappointment.

I’m one to believe that this is all misdirection and posturing. The owners and players will never make negotiations –or at least details of negotiations– public. What they are saying in public mediums is meant to present a one-sided view of the talks, and is mostly PR swing.

That’s why it’s tough to really decipher what is going on here. It appears that talks have blown up, but the owners and players had what seemed to be prepared statements. Prepared statements are usually a dead giveaway. But what do I know? I’m just a lowly blogger who gets his info when his Twitter feed blows up with anit-Bettman and anti-Fehr sentiment.

The fact of the matter is that the NHL is frustrated because the tactics they used in 2004-2005 to break the union are not working. Fehr is a much tougher negotiator than they anticipated. As for the NHLPA, if the rumors are true that Fehr instructed them to “wait it out” because “he believes the owners will cave more,” then they are equally to blame.

It’s all a PR game. No one knows for sure what is going on behind closed doors. Meanwhile, while both sides play the PR war, the fans are the ones suffering.

Categories : Business of Hockey


  1. cnp says:

    but in more exciting news you can watch highlights from ESPN’s nhl 13 sim of the season!!!!

  2. Mikeyyy says:

    So no hockey.

    The PR war is working for the players, in my eyes anyway.

    They have shown the willingness to negotiate, while the nhl is leaving take it or leave it offers.

    Decertification is a given at this point as the league will not budge.

    What would be nice is if the NHLPA dissolved, and the 20 owners who are making a profit turnaround and create a new league, then ask the players to unionize under it to play hockey.

    • Dave says:

      If by “20 owners making a profit” you mean “7 owners making a profit”, then yes, create a new league.

      • Mikeyyy says:

        Eh. I don’t think those numbers jive. Each team operates as it own private entity. If so many team were taking such a big loss, we would have seen teams being shut down.

        Lets look at it a different way. Take the 10 teams that lost the most money. Don’t unite them to the new league. The 20 left will share more of the profit.

        It’s a business decision.

  3. Walt says:

    It’s time for decertification of the union, and let the owners live up to the contracts they signed with the players, or take them to court!

    What garbage, the owner of the Wild signs two players to $98 million contracts, then cries poverty, what a piece of crap he is. He sits at the negotiation table with the likes of Jacobs, and makes the demands for a roll back. He knew good and well when he signed Parisi, and Suter that this was the game plan, I wouldn’t trust that SOB as far as I can throw the fool. This is now a matter of principle, and if we have no season, so be it, let the owners go broke, the hell with all of them.

  4. Joe says:

    I don’t know about lowly blogger Dave, but I really like the interpretation you give here. All others are yea! A deal! And then Boo! No deal! You are much more the realist.. Thanks!