The Deadspin story heard around the hockey world continued to reverberate on Tuesday as NHL fans got an eye-opening chance to peek behind the curtain at what the league is doing to manipulate public sentiment in their favor during the lockout.
The story detailed a marketing firm led by world-renowned strategist Frank Luntz, and their attempts at the NHLs behest to devise a marketing plan for the league. The aim is simple: to find a message that will tap into fans emotions and help gain public support for the NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the group of 30 owners during the work stoppage.
While some have jumped to the support of the NHL and claimed that every major corporation does this kind of focus group studying just as a similar group glossed over the NHLs ridiculous first CBA offer as simple a part of the negotiating process it once again makes the NHL look like rank amateurs. Rather than serious attempts to end the work stoppage through tireless negotiating and dozens of creative offers from both sides, the story shows a league that would rather attempt to gain public support through spin and clever subterfuge than actually solve the problem.
Even if that accusation is perception more than reality, the public is looking at this story as a clumsy attempt to hornswaggle the public rather than making genuine efforts for real solutions to start the season.
The Deadspin story set off NHL players all over the social media world as one might expect. Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference was one of the vexed and vocal group of players, and chimed in via his Twitter account while playing in the Czech League:
Can we please focus on getting on the ice instead of trying to fool our fans! We care about sport more than spin.deadspin.com5951872inside Andrew Ference (@Ferknuckle) October 16, 2012
Perhaps this story will finally convince the NHL that the lockout isnt doing their business any favors. In fact, the best public relations move the NHL could make would be to negotiate in good faith and attempt to find some middle ground with the NHLPA -- as it appears they've tried to do today.
Hat tip to boston.sportsthenandnow.com for pointing us toward the Ference twitter remarks.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wondering what Claude Julien would do if one of the Bruins players was running Facebook Live during his postgame comments.
*Auston Matthews is obviously making a huge impression in Toronto as his Centennial Classic jersey sold for over $11,000 at a charity auction.
*Clark Booth knows it’s time to talk about the NFL, but instead he wants to talk about Milt Schmidt. I agree with Clark.
*Sabres goalie Robin Lehner says that his Buffalo teammates need to start doing their job as the season circles down the drain.
*Pierre McGuire talks with TSN sports radio about the Ottawa Senators, and the tough road trip coming up for them.
*PHT writer Cam Tucker has more bad news for the Tampa Bay Lightning as Ryan Callahan is going to be out for another four weeks with a lower body injury.
*As the Detroit Red Wings continue to round up the bottom in the Atlantic Division, Thomas Vanek may become trade bait.
*Peter Budaj is giving the Kings the saves that they need with Jonathan Quick out long term with injury.
*For something completely different: Tom E. Curran points out some togetherness issues with the Pittsburgh Steelers based on Antonio Brown’s Facebook post.
BRIGHTON, Mass. -- The Bruins are going through a nice, little bountiful stretch of offense right now after a half-season of struggle.
The Bruins are averaging more than three goals per game in their last 12 contests, and have scored a whopping 22 goals in their last six games including dropping six scores on the Flyers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. Combine that with the 7-for-25 performance on the power play during the month of January, and things are finally starting to catch up with a Bruins team that was all shoot/no score for months of frustrating hockey this season.
“If you want sustained success then you have to be good defensively, but you also have to score some goals. That’s definitely part of it and we have to keep it going,” said Patrice Bergeron, who has four goals and eight points in his last nine games after struggling out of the starting gate. “You’re not going to get rewarded every night like we did [against the Flyers], but you have to find that consistency where you’re close to having that every night.”
One thing nobody should expect out of the B’s, however, is to get outside of what they do well now that they’ve started slapping some numbers up on the board. Instead the Bruins are intent on their bedrock of disciplined defense and sensational goaltending with the added offense just making it much tougher to beat them these days.
“I don’t know if we can stand here and say we’re going to sustain that we’re scoring lots of goals. I think what we need to sustain here is winning more games than we lose,” said Claude Julien. “That’s what we’ve got to sustain. Whether it’s a 1-0 or 2-1 game, or it’s a 5-2 or 5-3 game it doesn’t really matter. It’s about winning hockey games much more than it’s about how much you scored, and how much you don’t score.
“Overall when I look at the scoring chances we’re giving up per game, that doesn’t seem to have changed. Goals allowed may have changed a little bit lately, but overall I think we’ve been very steady in that area [of defense].”
So now the Bruins will again be looking for that ideal balance of offense/defense when they take the ice against the Islanders on Monday afternoon for their second straight matinee at TD Garden.