Getty ImagesChristmas is a time for peace, love and understanding. Or maybe that was Elvis Costello’s “Armed Forces”. One of the two. Point is, there’s an expectation ‘round this time of year to let bygones be bygones and raise an eggnog to holiday cheer ... provided you don’t believe eggnog to have the taste and consistency of goat vomit, which most rational individuals do.
What else brings people together? Mascots.
Wonderful, whimsical plushies who represent our teams, exploit our dance crazes and occasionally take a punch from an angry Boston Bruins fan. You might think you hate mascots. You don’t. You hate that you’ve never gotten up the nerve to give SJ Sharkie that rib-cracking hug on the concourse you’ve always wanted to give him. That's what you hate.
So the combination of a holiday greeting and adorable mascots would seem like a surefire way for a League with an image problem to make good with the bitter customers, at least for a day or two.
Well, no, not completely. The good news for the League is that since it was posted on Dec. 19, the NHL holiday card on Facebook has received 3,984 “likes”. The bad news is that it's earned nearly 4,500 comments that range from sarcastic to patently outraged that the NHL would offer “Happy Holidays” at a time when they’ve made so many fans miserable.
Coming up, a small sample of the snark …
Small in the sense that these comments were taken from just the latest 500 on the post …
… on every NHL Facebook post, in fact. We were especially fond of the anti-lockout comments on the post that simply announced the NHL’s Green Sustainability blog. Such as Guy Courchesne’s comment:
“Think of the savings in CO2 emissions from having darkened rinks all around North America...it's a great plan!”
We’d like to take a moment to commend the NHL for not completely censoring this backlash, even though one assumes that level of sanitation wouldn’t have gone unnoticed and might have made for a more significant PR problem.
As for the holiday card … well, what did you expect the NHL to do? With the players locked out, their best option for soothing the fans – Henrik Lundqvist in a Christmas stocking – was off the table. Oh well, maybe next year. Maybe.
s/t PD reader Jason Skillings