The single most overrated victory in collective bargaining between the NHL's owners and players will be in the "public relations war", because one side never had a chance to claim victory. The owners won the last lockout, implementing a salary cap system they wanted and giving the players 57 percent of the revenue cut. They then spent the next seven years circumventing their own rules before attempting to cut the players' share down to an even split, with justifications ranging from "hey, basketball did it!" to crying poverty for teams whose own foibles — bad contracts, arena deals and transactions — have caused their ills. Frankly, the owners lost the trust of the fans and media that supported them in 2004-05. They also don't have a clear ideological rallying call as they did back then, when "saving the game" wasn't necessarily just a hyperbolic mantra but a viable goal. So the players went into the CBA negotiation having already won the PR war — hell, the NHL couldn't even successfully hang the death of realignment on them. Donald Fehr and the NHLPA aren't taking anything for granted in winning the popularity contest. They're measured and cohesive where Bob Goodenow's union was hair-trigger and permeable. They've used media surrogates and social media outlets to hammer their opponents. Their first "alternate" proposal was as reasonable as the NHL's was extreme; offering solutions to pressing issues that seemed, at face, like a jumping off point for a settlement. Chief among them: Revenue sharing. Reading a Donald Fehr proposal without meaningful revenue sharing would be like seeing a Dane Cook concert without hearing anyone else's jokes. The only mild surprise was the lack of a luxury tax for teams that exceed to cap — perhaps sensing that it's a non-starter for the NHL. But you know who else proposed an increase in revenue sharing? The NHL, in its opening proposal. But this is what happens when you've already lost the PR war, and when your concepts are crushed under the weight of flawed ideas: The NHLPA offers a revenue sharing plan that's celebrated like a New Year's baby, and the NHL's own plan — which they believe is the better plan — is summarily ignored. The good news for us: They both want expanded revenue sharing to teams that don't currently qualify for it. The bad news for us: They have significantly different theories on how to effectively accomplish this.