In social issues, politics and even sports public opinion is tough to assess.
People can be polled one way, but react another when choices involve actions and not just a quick answer. The silent majority can quite often be poorly represented by the loud minority who take to the streets, start web based petitions or create youtube videos slagging their favorite targets. Don’t even get me started on the “no comment” group that for whatever reason agree to answer a poll but then have no opinion in filling in the answer; nobody can help them.
To date the NHL and the NHLPA have attempted, I’d argue largely in vain, to win the hearts of the hockey fan in a way to gain leverage in a dispute that today has become 11 days old. It’s not working.