With the 2012 NHL lockout officially upon us, and neither side expecting to even think about formally meeting until the middle of the week -- according to some reports -- the two sides have taken to a different battlefield.
Both sides released statements to the fans pleading their case. In the morning, the NHL made an official statement on their website.Then, not to be outdone, the NHLPA released a video statement later in the afternoon.
You know what neither side did? Talk about putting together an official meeting to start the real negotiations. Instead, both sides have begun pointing fingers at the other side as they try to garner up fan support.
Join me after the jump for more.
The ironic part? The more the two sides try to conjure up sympathy, the more anger they're going to get from the fans. More than a few people were asking why the NHL and the NHLPA had time to work on their statements, but not enough time to try and get together to hash things out.
The NHL and the NHLPA didn't even try to meet with each other on Friday and Saturday to see if they couldn't at least find some middle ground with the CBA ticking closer to expiring. Instead, the two sides shared some phone calls and e-mails (which is going to get very old very fast -- if it hasn't already) and agreed that they were too far apart to try and negotiate before the deadline.
Oh yes, that bodes well.
It also doesn't help when one of the biggest names int he negotiation room, Bill Daly, apologizes for how far behind the two sides are this last in the process. Some of you might think that hockey will start by December, but this can't give you confidence as time goes on.
Remember, too, for those of you making the argument that the league and players aren't dumb enough to lock out an entire season; the two sides were dumb enough to lock out period. That has to count for something.
Neither side is used to blinking first here. Both Fehr and Bettman are used to waiting out the other side. So what happens when these two meet in a crucial negotiating process? Well, nothing, apparently.
In the end, neither side will win the PR battle. Not while the game is forced off the ice.
And while there might not be a winner in the PR battle, there is definitely a loser here.
The fans. And the employees of teams who aren't players. They're the ones who suffer.