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NHL, NHLPA release touching statements as duel for fan empathy intensifies (VIDEO)

Harrison Mooney
Puck Daddy

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Hey girl, we just want to retain 57% of HRR

And you thought no one cared about the fans.

With no scheduled meetings to take up their time, the NHL and NHLPA set to winning the completely meaningless P.R. battle on Day 1 of the lockout, releasing statements hoping to win the sympathy of distraught fans.

This is where the NHLPA shines. It's a group of young, handsome, familiar, likeable faces, many of whom are just down-to-earth Canadian prairie boys, gee golly shucks. This in mind, the NHLPA wisely decided to make a video statement and cram it full of moving black-and-white stills, guys you like in tight, v-neck t-shirts, inspirational grand piano melodies, and a heaping spoonful of Crosby:

Jonathan Toews: The system that is supposedely broken was designed by the owners and the league itself. Baby.

James Reimer: The fans, they lose the game they love, and we don't get to perform in front of the fans. Baby.

I'm genuinely surprised this video wasn't just Landeskog, Reimer, Crosby, Toews and Backes singing "As Long as You Love Me" by the Backstreet Boys.

Unfortunately for the NHL owners, they are not a cabal of sympathetic, dreamy-eyed handsome men (Ed Snider notwithstanding).

What's more, very few of them can rock a tight white tee with a plunging neckline.

Understanding this, they wisely avoided making a similar video with shots of owners talking about the thrill of crushing a union, watching ticket prices rise, and making a million in an afternoon, all while attempting to make you swoon.

But don't worry, fans: they're totally into you too. From NHL.com:

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.

Okay, so I'm having a hard time swallowing a statement that suggests the last CBA is actually really great and just needs a few teensy-weensy tweaks, especially on day 1 of a freaking lockout.

But that may just be because it wasn't suggested to me by Gabriel Landeskog as he looked deep into my eyes.

Unless it turns out one of Greg Jamison's secret investors is Ryan Gosling, good luck winning that P.R. battle, owners.

Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney

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