THE VENT is a forum for rants, raves, pleas and laments from hockey fans across the world about the NHL lockout. It runs every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. If you've got a take on the lockout and need to let it out, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, Subject: The Vent.
Pamela Corcoran actually believes that this wouldn't be read by anyone. Surprise!
I couldn't believe it when Bettman came unhinged after Fehr's counteroffer Thursday, pulling the league's offer and breaking off talks. Surely a seasoned negotiator knows to expect counteroffers. Surely a rational person who had wanted the players to vote on his offer would reject the counter but leave his offer in place. Surely the 'smartest guy in the room' could read the situation and predict that if he took that route, the players would be voting on the league's offer this weekend, likely approving it. But if all this is true, Bettman's reaction is inexplicable - emotional, irrational, and just plain stupid.
And then I realized that the owners wouldn't leave an emotional, irrational man in charge of their billion dollar negotiations. So the underlying assumption has to be wrong. The league never wanted their most recent offer to be voted on by the players. They can't have. Why would they make an offer they didn't want considered? All along I've been reading stories about how the league wants to undermine the players' confidence in Fehr. And what better way than this? They make a moderately reasonable offer. They know - know! - that Fehr will counter. They can even picture Fehr telling the players: 'I understand you want to take this offer. But let me at least see if I can get you anything better. Worst case scenario is they reject my counter and you accept their current offer. Worst case. I know what I'm doing.' Which is a reasonable thing for a seasoned negotiator to say (on the assumption that the current offer is genuine). And then Bettman freaks and pulls their offer off the table.
What would you think, as a player? I think I would be shocked, worried, and a little less confident in the guy who said there'd be no harm in trying for something a little bit better. And now the league is in just a little better position to get the players to jump at their next - worse - offer.
Paranoid? Maybe. But I don't think so. Bettman has been criticized for many many many things, but never for being a poor negotiator. Too bad the owners don't care that he's chipping away at the fan base every time he dashes our hopes. They need to be honest, or they need to shut the [expletive] up. Admit that they have a date in mind already, and that a deal won't be struck before then. Stop letting us get our hopes up only to pull hockey away from us again.
I'm the hardest of the hard core fans. I already had a boycott planned or I couldn't respect myself, but I figured it would be misery, and I'd be chomping at the bit to get back into an NHL arena. But now I don't think I'll miss it right away. This week hurt. I let myself get excited, and those hopes were dashed. It was bad enough when I couldn't understand it; it's worse now that I do. I need some time for the bad associations of this fall's negativity to fade. For me to be able to watch the NHL without being more bitter at the businessmen than amazed at the players.
Well done owners. Well done Mr. Bettman. The players are probably upset and unsettled. But so are your customers. I know, we're the sap who keeps taking back the heartbreaker ex. But everyone has their breaking point. Are you really so sure you know how close your fans are to theirs?
One would argue the fans are well, well past it.Read More »from It’s an NHL lockout Christmas! Also, fans want a boycott (THE VENT)