Monday, December 10, 2012

There are moderates in the NHL lockout and...

Mario Lemieux wanted them to be heard.According to Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Penguins part-owner Mario Lemieux wanted to get involved in a possible solution to the lockout, but he also wanted to wait for the right time.

He, his superstar/"face of the NHL" player, Sidney Crosby, his friend (Crosby's agent,) Pat Brisson, had decided to try and get the moderate voices on both sides to be heard.

Rossi says Lemieux put together a coalition of moderates from teams with various financial stakes in the league--Tampa Bay owner, Jeff Vinik, LA Kings President of Business Operations Luc Robitaille, and Marc Bergevin, GM of the Montreal Canadians. And he goes on by saying that as this group gathered steam, "[they] helped sweep aboard ownership groups in Toronto and Winnipeg, the NHL’s biggest and smallest Canadian markets."

"There is no coincidence," said Rossi, "that the Penguins, Lightning, Maple Leafs and Jets were the four new franchises the NHL sent into a room with players this week in New York."

Lemieux, he also said, consciously removed himself from the spotlight preferring his partner Steve Burkle take the helm for the team.

Burkle met with Vinik before the players/owners only meeting while Crosby met with his fellow players.

And they almost ended up getting it done.


Come to find out, though, the moderate owners weren't even up to date on what was happening in the negotiations.

Kevin Westgarth is a role player who made $525,000K last season with the Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings.

NY Times writer Jeff Z. Klein, penned a background piece on the on-ice enforcer who is now an enforcer at the negoitating table with the NHL.

The Klein piece charts Westgarth's background, which includes a degree from Princeton in psychology, his parallel to fellow NHL enforcer and Princeton-grad, George Parros, and his standing side by side with Sidney Crosby, Brad Richards and Executive Director Donald Fehr in union solidarity.

But the most interesting part, which relates to the piece above about Lemieux and the "moderates" getting involved in the talks, is what, Westgarth says, "they brought in." 
'There are a half-dozen or more players who knew exactly where we were and could detail every aspect of where we were at,' he said, referring to last week’s talks. The league brought in four owners to join Jeremy Jacobs of Boston and Murray Edwards of Calgary in the negotiations.
'It became obvious that the guys they brought in had nowhere near a complete understanding of what the proposals were and where we were in the negotiations,' he said. 'I thought it was great that Ron Burkle, Larry Tanenbaum, Mark Chipman and Jeff Vinik got involved — clearly they’re passionate and care about the game — but it shows how tightly controlled the league is.'
And he added, why the talks broke down last week at the mention of Fehr rejoining the process.
'Part of their tactics is to demonize Don — we’ve seen it before,' he said. The settlement ending the 2004-5 lockout was not signed by the union’s executive director at the time, Bob Goodenow. He had been excluded from the process.'
Update December 11:

  • Talks are set for Wednesday at an undisclosed location and Mark Spector of thinks the two sides are close to a deal because, he say, "telephone tour through the industry on Monday found voices on both sides that actively agreed with the position taken by the other side. Or that were at least ready to admit that the demands their side were making were a tad, how should we say, overzealous."
  • More details on the CBA proposals from both sides (piece includes a pic of Sabres goalie Ryan Miller)
  • Via's Brian Stubitz, a tweet from NY Daily News' Pat Leonard:  Asked [NHL Deputy Commish] Bill Daly which owners would be willing to sit in next meeting: "I don't anticipate any owners participating in our next meeting."
Somethin's brewin'. Could be that December 31st and January 1st could be touted as the beginning of a long, fruitful relationship between the NHL and the NHLPA.

Other links:

Elliotte Friedman, CBC, on Ron Hainsey, the NHLPA's "bad cop"

No comments:

Post a Comment