A sign of the power of social media and fans' desire to have the NHL back in action: An inanimate object is now a Twitter star. On a Wednesday when news was scarce as labor talks stretched into the late-evening hours for a second day in a row, the appearance of workers setting up the podium in the temporary news media room at the Westin Times Square in New York drew a few tweets of feigned enthusiasm that some sort of announcement might be coming.
As the back-and-forth between reporters continued, #podiumwatch quickly was trending on Twitter and one enterprising person created a parody Twitter account @NHLPodium.
Despite having about a dozen tweets, the account passed 14,000 followers by 8 p.m. ET Thursday.
The tweets are a mix of jokes and social commentary on Commissioner Gary Bettman, Sidney Crosby, the Phoenix Coyotes and even Phil Kessel being picked last in the first All-Star Fantasy Draft in 2011.
"Just sitting here on a stage by myself like an idiot while everyone stares at me. Not sure how to handle this. Phil Kessel, call me."
The account creator Thursday even joked about the podium's lull in Twitter activity.
"Sincere apologies for the ongoing lack of tweets. The battery on my phone died and also I am locked away in a crate because I am a podium."
The podium has been a staple at lockout-related announcements and was on the stage Wednesday afternoon for much longer than Bettman's 20-second update after the board of governors meetings.
So did the podium serve its purpose Wednesday night/Thursday morning?
Winnipeg Jets defensemen Ron Hainsey did not stand near it as he announced by the elevators at 1 a.m. that the two sides would meet again Thursday. But NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was at the podium during his brief statement.
With NHL labor talks breaking off again Thursday after the league turned down the players' counterproposal, the podium could be inactive again for a while.
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