I hate to open this post talking about the difficulties of the owners, but on the public relations front, they do face a few. For one thing, when it comes to being young and handsome, and thus, likable, the players have that angle on lock. For another, their fabulous wealth makes empathy difficult.
And Monday, when they dropped some of that fabulous wealth hiring professional dishonest-phrase-inventor Frank Luntz to help them overcome some of these difficulties, documents leaked that made them seem even less sympathetic. Longing for your love, making the big play and tendering a new offer Tuesday afternoon was just wisdom.
Meanwhile, all the players have to do is drop in on a youth hockey practice. Or, even easier, tweet an open invitation to play a little road hockey, as Brandon Prust did Tuesday.
Brandon Prust, 1. Jeremy Jacobs, 0. (Although if Jacobs tweeted an invitation to play road hockey with him I'd be there in a second.)
Fellow Montreal Canadien Colby Armstrong joined the game, as did plenty of fans. A slough of cameras and media showed up as well, which Prust didn't seem to mind.
So, did Prust's decision to break out of the orange ball have anything to do with the aforementioned PR battle? Or was it just "an innocent idea," as he told Montreal radio station CJAD 800?
Maybe he was just really bored? He is presently unemployed, after all, a concept he's fully embracing, judging by his look.
But considering he retweeted Boomer Esiason claiming the owners' offer was just an attempt to publicly pressure the players right before he headed out, I'm going to assume Prust was at least a little aware. He was also hardly flattering in his characterization of the owners' negotiations up to this point or their intentions with this most recent offer. From CJAD:
"I'm sure the Fehr brothers are looking over it with their crew right now to see the inside and outs of it and i'm sure they`ll get back to us as soon as possible with their findings. I saw some quotes from Don and obviously they're optimistic that they want to do some real negotiations now."
And while Prust agrees, he says it's too soon to tell if it's an offer the NHLPA will be willing to accept. "We'll know more later today when we start talking and we get our updates from Don, but it's good that there's movement but it's also something that's going to look good for the owners and everybody's going to want to say that everyone's on the owners side so it's tough to say right now."
He seems somewhat aware of the public relations battle, don't you think?
It sounds like everybody had a lot of fun. Here's hoping Prust's next game of hockey happens on ice.