Daly: “Of course we care what our fans think”

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NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly isn’t taking the possibility of the league suffering a fan backlash from its second lockout in less than a decade lightly, according to a Tampa Bay Times report.

“Of course we care what our fans think,” Daly said. “That’s why they need to hear our message as well as the Players’ Association’s.”

Daly argues that there was plenty of time spent negotiating over the summer in an effort to prevent a lockout, but he doesn’t feel that the NHLPA has been willing to compromise.

“They’ve really made one proposal and they haven’t moved off the one proposal, and in any negotiation it’s not really a negotiation if one side is making all the proposals and the other side is just waiting until they get what they want,” Daly said.

He feels that the league has already made some compromises and the union needs to follow suit before the current stalemate can end.

If that all sounds discouraging to you, it might help to note that Daly doesn’t think this is simply a repeat of the situation that eliminated the 2004-05 season.

“It’s clearly different than where we were in 2004,” Daly said, “where after the lockout started I don’t think there was any, there was no formal contact between the two sides and there was probably only one informal contact until early December.”

Daly also categorized the NHL’s initial offer as “an invitation to negotiate” and not a declaration of war.

“But to the extent it had a contrary effect on how this negotiation has played out — and I’m not sure it has, I think people may say it has but I’m not sure I necessarily buy into that — but to the extent it has, then that’s unfortunate,” Daly said. “But we are where we are, we’ve obviously moved a long way from there in terms of our position currently and we’d just like to have a party on the other side of the table who’s wiling to negotiate finances with us.”