As it turns out, not every NHL owner was eager to set fire to the industry to earn Total Victory over the players union.
The league abandoned its scorched earth approach when Pittsburgh Penguins owner Ron Burkle was allowed into the negotiating process. He, current Penguins star Sidney Crosby and former Penguins star Mario Lemieux are pushing to end this standoff.
Former Penguins center Jordan Staal told the Raleigh News & Observer that Burkle “really understands the business world and he truly does care about playing and getting back on the ice.”
New negotiation faces Jeff Vinik (Lightning), Mark Chipman (Jets) and Larry Tannenbaum (Maple Leafs) also brought some sanity to the owners’ side of the table.
Hard-line Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs was in Tuesday’s face-to-face meeting with the players. But his lackey, commissioner Gary Bettman, was forced to hover on the perimeter.
(To Bettman’s credit, he suggested the owners-players meeting concept, moving himself and NHLPA czar Donald Fehr to edge of the fray. At least Gary realized he was just getting in the way.)
The two sides negotiated for real and found some common ground. That set the stage for a key meeting of the NHL Board of Governors and additional negotiations.
Was their progress? Sure, but we’ve heard that before. At least the two sides demonstrated some urgency as time began running out to have any sort of 2012-13 season.
Here is what the Twitterverse has to say about all this today.