After so much boardroom negotiating and podium grandstanding, it's been a quiet start to the lockout-shortened NHL season for NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr.

"The focus has to be on the game," Fehr told Sports Business Journal's Liz Mullen in a recent interview. "It has to be back on the performances of the players."

Three days into the start of the lockout-shortened regular season, the focus is squarely back on the players and their game. Fans have returned to the league in record numbers. Merchandise sales can barely keep up with demand in some markets. By all indications, four months of contempt for the league and its players union were two tears in a bucket compared to fans' completely inelastic demand for NHL hockey.

All back to normal.

Fehr and the teams of lawyers opposite him at the NHL did a fine job of galvanizing public scorn through the course of the nearly four-month long 2012 NHL lockout. He and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, both lawyers, were the the ones gathering headlines. Meanwhile, the league's players made only occasional appearances at a podium or on the odd KHL scoresheet.