The Edmonton Oilers released a statement yesterday concerning the decision the owners have made to lock the players out at midnight on Sunday. The statement contains a downright hilarious passage about the team's feelings:
We assure you our thoughts are mainly about you during these troubled times. Oilers fans have carried our team to greatness many times in the past and you can be assured that we spend every day working on plans to repeat those achievements for you, as soon as possible.
Thank goodness Oilers' fans know how to laugh at their team.
Let's get this out of the way right away: nothing about this process is about the fans. Not a single thing. Well, except that the fans, through their ticket purchases and television viewing and tax dollars for arena funds, are solely funding the league.
So other than the fact that without those fans, there would be no billions to fight over, this squabble isn't about the fans. It's about each side seeking the biggest slice of the fan's dollars out of their own self-interest which obviously must come at the other side's expense. The owner's clearly believe the fans will return and spend their dollars again, despite another league stoppage, so it's possible "taking the fans for granted" is Mr. Laforge's version of thinking mainly about the fans.
If it was really about the fans, Mr. Katz would've used his place on the NHL's Board to force the owners back to the negotiating table, or would've used his place on the BOG to take a stance amenable to negotiations. He didn't.
On another note, the Oilers haven't mainly thought about the fans since Ryan Smyth was traded to the Islanders in lieu of an extra $100,000 per year. Since then, the team has been managed to specifically not think about the fans, unless they believe their fans enjoy inept franchise management, awkward public appearances, laughable personnel management, last place finishes, and rooting for the worst team in the league since the last time the owners locked the players out mainly because they were "thinking of the fans."