The NHL and the NHLPA have not met since mediation stepped in and stepped out in two sessions last week. They are expected to meet again on Tuesday, but this time it will be a different approach. This time a hand full of players and owners will meet alone in New York. Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr will not be present.
The six owners who are expected to be in attendance are Ron Burkle (Pittsburgh Penguins), Mark Chipman (Winnipeg Jets), Murray Edwards (Calgary Flames), Jeremy Jacobs (Boston Bruins), Larry Tanenbaum (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Jeff Vinik (Tampa Bay Lightning). Seems to me like Mr. Vinik is being thrown in with a couple of sharks. A couple of these owners have yet to attend a meeting, so they will bring fresh eyes and ears to the table. Hopefully they will have some new ideas that will help bridge the gap between the union and the league.
“There will be owners attending this meeting who have not previously done so, which is encouraging and which we welcome. We hope that this meeting will be constructive and lead to a dialogue that will help us find a way to reach an agreement.” -Fehr said in a statement.
They have not released the identity of the players who will be representing their side.
To be honest, the announcement of this meeting surprised me. After the same mediation agency who helped end both the NFL and the NBA lockouts threw their hands up with the NHL and basically said ‘you guys are nuts, there is no help for you’ I figured that would be that. I fully expected the next announcement that we heard from Gary Bettman would be the cancellation of the entire 2012-2013 season. I am happy to be wrong about this one!
Mr. Vinik has knowledge that might really help get this done. He’s an amazing business man. He is unselfish, yet will stand up for what he knows is right. Hopefully he will refuse stay the quiet one at the table and be bullied by the other ‘more experienced’ owners who have been at these meetings. Our very own Jeff Vinik just might be the key to unlock this season.