NHL owners and members of the NHLPA will meet this week in an attempt to find some solutions to the lockout that has eliminated 422 games from the 2012-13 season, according to John Shannon of Sportsnet.ca.
Players Meet Owners Tuesday in NYC...6 from each side plus limited staff from both League and PA willl be allowed. Names TBA.— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) December 2, 2012
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr made the following comments about the meeting in a statement on Sunday (via Louis Jean of TVA Sports on Twitter):
NHLPA has agreed to a meeting on Tuesday in New York that should facilitate dialogue between Players and Owners. Neither I or the commissioner will be present,although each side will have a limited number of staff or counsel present. There will be Owners attending this meeting who have not previously done so, which is encouraging and which we welcome. We hope that this meeting will be constructive and lead to a dialogue that will help us find a way to reach an agreement.
Here are the six owners expected to be in attendance, according to Elliotte Friedman of CBC Sports:
Owners -- Burkle (PIT), Chipman (WIN), Edwards (CAL), Jacobs (BOS), Tanenbaum (TOR), Vinik (TB).— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 2, 2012
TSN's Bob McKenzie also has an update:
Having "staff" member from each side present in meeting was NHLPA request. NHL opted for Daly, which means PA will counter with Steve Fehr.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) December 2, 2012
The selection of owners is interesting for a number of reasons. Jacobs' involvement was expected since he is the chairman of the NHL's Board of Governors. The other hard-line owner who will join Jacobs in this meeting is Murray Edwards of the Calgary Flames.
Winnipeg Jets owner Mark Chipman's involvement is good news. His franchise has sold a lot of tickets since the team relocated from Atlanta to Winnipeg for last season.
The Jets had a healthy operating income of $13.3 million during the 2011-12 season, according to Forbes, so there's plenty of incentive for Winnipeg to want the lockout to end.
Larry Tanenbaum of the Toronto Maple Leafs will represent the league's most profitable franchise, which according to Forbes, is also worth $1 billion.
From a financial standpoint, the Leafs have the most to lose from this lockout. The team earned $200 million in revenue last season, the highest amount in the NHL. Every day lost to the lockout is costing the Leafs a ton of money.
Jeff Vinik of the Tampa Bay Lightning comes from one of the 13 NHL teams that lost money last season, according to Forbes, but does have a good team with a loyal fanbase.
He will want to make sure that the next CBA includes ways for small-market clubs in non-traditional markets to control costs and make more money.
Ronald Burkle, who co-owns the Pittsburgh Penguins with franchise legend Mario Lemieux, is one owner of a team that needs the lockout to end ASAP. His team is a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, and several of his best players are currently in the prime of their careers.
With reigning Hart Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin having just one more year after this season left on his current contract, the Penguins cannot afford to lose a chance to make a championship run because of a lost season.
As for the NHLPA, Fehr has plenty of players who could be considered as possible participants in this meeting. It would be surprising if Penguins star Sidney Crosby, who has been a leader for the union during the work stoppage, was not one of the six players in attendance.
If absolutely no progress is made at this meeting, hockey fans should be very worried about the 2012-13 NHL season.
Check back to this article for information on which players are selected by the union to attend this meeting when it becomes available.