The gorilla in the room: Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs (right) is a lockout hardliner who some observers fear will make progress impossible at CBA talks even without Gary Bettman and Don Fehr present. (Elise Amendola/AP)
By Stu Hackel
In this corner, meet the six owners who will sit at the bargaining table on Tuesday: Ron Burkle (Penguins), Mark Chipman (Jets), Murray Edwards (Flames), Jeremy Jacobs (Bruins), Larry Tanenbaum (Maple Leafs) and Jeff Vinik (Lightning).
In that corner: Uhhhh….
Who will be in the players’ corner? That’s a tricky question. TSN says Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews will be in New York, but it’s not confirmed that they’ll be at the talks. Yahoo’s Nick Cotsonika tweeted, “A number of players will be in New York tomorrow. Before the meeting with the owners, they will decide who will attend.” So we wait to find out officially who the NHLPA will select to represent it in this unusual session of these CBA talks to end the 79-day lockout, this time without each side’s lead negotiators, Gary Bettman and Don Fehr.
Will the union want to mirror the composition of the owners team with some hardliners, some who are more moderate and some who are less interested in principle and want to play now? Will it want players who work for the owners on the other side, like Sidney Crosby sitting across the table from Burkle? Will Marty St. Louis go face-to-face with Vinik while Ron Hainsey pairs up with Chipman, and someone from the Bruins, Andrew Ference perhaps, chats with Jacobs?
Or maybe the PA would want six enforcers on its side of the table. Can you imagine George Parros, Kevin Westgarth and Paul Bissonette staring down Jacobs and Edwards? That might be fun.