from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
As the NHL and its players break off negotiations for a while, it'll be interesting in the next month or three to see if the change in topography from the last time these sides lost a whole season come into play.
It's clear Commissioner Gary Lockout Bettman is keen to drive the same bus over the players, claiming the same hardships for many of the same franchises when the last agreement was signed. That was the CBA which his people drafted to the very last sentence, and one which the commissioner proclaimed himself as one which would fix the game's problems.
But a few things are altered this time, the question being: when things get down to the serious times, will they actually make a significant difference?
First of all, there's public opinion. In 2004-05, you were hard-pressed to find many fans who supported the players. Most of them felt all players were greedy and were overpaid, but this year, public opinion within the media and the fans has shifted almost exclusively to the players.
The only media outlets not strongly backing the players in this are those which are owned and operated by the league by virtue of the fact they have contracts directly with the league and not individual teams.