The news out of the recent labor negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA have been grim at best. When even the intervention of federal mediators failed, many saw this as a sign that the season was all but cancelled. This time, they’re trying something a little different. A group of six owners is set to meet with a handful of players in an attempt to get something going. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik will be among those owners. Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr won’t be in attendance.
A newcomer to hockey labor negotiations, Vinik is thought to be a moderate owner who wants a deal to be made. He wouldn’t be opposed to revenue sharing being expanded or payroll reductions. On the other hand, he is the owner of a team that Gary Bettman sold to him a couple years ago. What do the Lightning players think of this development?
“I’m happy he’s going. He’s a guy who will listen and talk and have a conversation and see where things go,” captain Vincent Lecavalier said. (Quote Source: Tampa Tribune)
“Because of everything he’s done in the past few years, I have a hard time believing Mr. Vinik doesn’t want to play,” Marty St. Louis said. (Quote Source: Tampa Tribune)
It’s tough to say exactly what will happen at this meeting. We also don’t know for sure if Vinik is in fact a moderate or if he sides with more hardline owners like Jeremy Jacobs. This is due largely to Bettman’s threat of slapping any owners who speak out with giant fines.
For now we do what we’ve been doing for almost 80 days. We wait.