NHL Lockout, Day 6: Twitter Presents New Challenges For League, Union
As the NHL “orchestrates another controversial lockout narrative,” the league is “faced with a massed choir of players, agents, journalists, statisticians, humorists, cranks, idlers and outright liars vying for the last word on how the NHL is doing” due to the influx of social media outlets, according to Bruce Dowbiggin of the GLOBE & MAIL. Twitter did not exist during the ‘04-05 lockout, and almost “everyone concedes that, because of social media, the NHL is running uphill in this PR battle" compared to the last work stoppage. Former NHLPA Exec Dir Paul Kelly said, “Twitter has changed the landscape since the last CBA negotiation in that every development in this standoff has gone viral almost instantly. Social media has also allowed the parties to attempt to shape public opinion directly and through surrogates, including players, agents, owners, friendly media sources and others.” That has caused the NHL “to scramble to appear sympathetic to the Internet voices.” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly in an e-mail wrote, “We understood going into this that the landscape was going to be different with the prevalence of social media.” Dowbiggin notes NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has reportedly “shuttered his own Twitter account, and the NHL’s own Twitter account has been mute on labour issues.” However, NHLPA members “aren’t being shy.” Dowbiggin: “Don’t look for the online rhetoric to cool soon. It won’t much change the NHL’s bargaining tactics, but the hatin’ will make the postlockout reconstruction that much more difficult than in 2005” (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/21).
EDWARDS UPDATE: In Boston, Chad Finn notes per NESN Bruins announcer Jack Edwards' contract, the net "is not obligated to pay him during a work stoppage, though he said they have not yet discussed whether this will be the case." Edwards "emphasized that his bosses at NESN are 'hustling their butts off' to find a role for him" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/21).