Former player Nick Kypreos thinks so. Through edmononjournal. com, Kypreos says, 'Apparently Gary [Bettman] is ready to get a deal done. He wants this thing done Friday. Friday!'
It's a pretty emphatic statement considering where this has gone over the last two and a half months since the lockout started.
Bettman and the owners have been in control, and it would seem if there was a pattern to how they wanted to approach these "negotiations" According to former GM Doug McLean, in the same article mentioned above, 'MacLean said that six weeks ago, he heard the NHL’s position, that “it is knock ‘em down, drag ‘em out until December 1st, and then at December 1st we’re getting a deal done.”'
If anyone ever doubted that the owners were driving this lockout, there you have it.
The commish is set to take to the podium today (right now as I type,) for a press conference. This is on the heels of a owner/players only meeting that lasted over eight hours yesterday, convened shortly this morning and was set to continue after a NHL Board of Governors meeting today.
The owners/players meeting was called for by Bettman after mediation broke down. Six owners-minus Bettman--and 18 players, minus Bettman's counterpart, Donald Fehr, were at the meeting. The owners were: Jeremy Jacobs (Boston,) Murray Edwards (Calgary,) Ron Burkle (Pittsburgh), Mark Chipman (Winnipeg), Jeffrey Vinik (Tampa Bay) and Larry Tannenbaum (Toronto).
The players were: Craig Adams, David Backes, Michael Cammalleri, Sidney Crosby, B.J. Crombeen, Mathieu Darche, Shane Doan, Ron Hainsey, Shawn Horcoff, Jamal Mayers, Manny Malhotra, Andy McDonald, George Parros, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis, Jonathan Toews and Kevin Westgarth.
Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller was also there.
In an interview with The Buffalo News' John Vogl a day before the meeting, Miller talked about various aspects of the lockout, negotiations and owners/players.
Miller is a very cerebral individual (maybe too cerebral to fully focus upon the task at hand in net sometimes,) who has been deeply involved in the process and has been a voice heard throughout the lockout.
Some of his thoughts: “I can't make sense of what the owners truly need because they want everything. That is why it seems like the finish line is moving.”
“I am confused by the hard line on contracting,” Miller wrote. “My only guess is Gary wants to limit General Managers so he won't have anymore loophole type surprises in this CBA. I understand that position to the extent you don't want contracts to cripple a team, but they are really taking away team building as a skill. Skilled GMs will have to identify how to balance a budget instead of building a well balanced winner.
“There has been a deal available for months,” Miller wrote. “We all expected things to fall into a negotiation after reaching 50/50 [in regards to splitting revenue] but it hasn't. The owners want too much from us and we have to make a stand. We appreciate the chance to play in the NHL but we have to protect our players.”
On that last quote, it goes back to what McLean was saying, basically that the NHL had a format they were following regardless of the process.
And if Kypreos and McLean are correct, the afternoon bargaining session today should provide enough of a framework to begin the process to get the season going with a formal announcement on Friday.
John Jaeckel, who writes about the Chicago Blackhawks, quotes a source who said 'Hawks players told to get ready.'