After mediation was unsuccessful last week during collective bargaining agreement meetings between the NHL and NHLPA, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman suggested to let the two sides meet without union representative Don Fehr or himself present. The NHLPA thought about the request and accepted, but have still not yet determined which players they will send to the meeting on Tuesday.
The owners have already announced the six representatives they’ll have at the meeting, Mark Chipman (Winnipeg Jets), Ron Burkle (Pittsburgh Penguins), Larry Tanenbaum (Toronto Maple Leafs), Murray Edwards (Calgary Flames), Jeffrey Vinik (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Jeremy Jacobs (Boston Bruins). James Dolan (New York Rangers) had expressed high interest in attending this meeting, but was not granted permission by the NHL. Many believe the reasoning is due to his bad history with Bettman. In 2007, Dolan filed a lawsuit against the league and has made his dislike for Bettman no secret. The Rangers also happen to be the league’s second most profitable team behind the Maple Leafs and one would think Dolan wishes to see talks progress rather than stall as they have.
The word on the street is that the players dislike Jacobs and have said that CBA talks have a different feel whenever he’s in the meeting room. Some believe that whether Fehr or Bettman are present in this meeting or not, nothing will be accomplished as long as Jacobs is there.
It’s been reported that several players are currently in New York City and it’s not yet decided which six will attend the meeting. Two names have been thrown around, however: Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby and Chicago Blackhawks star Jonathan Toews. Also expected to be in attendance is Florida Panthers winger George Parros, who has attended many of the meetings on the players side and is considered one of the smartest players in the league as a Princeton University graduate. (Fellow Princeton alum Kevin Westgarth has also been rumored to attend.)
These talks could help to move future talks forward, but they could also have no impact whatsoever and things could continue the way they have been for the past two months. Once more develops tomorrow, we’ll be sure to have the latest news available, so keep checking back with Rant Sports.