NHL Lockout: Why James Dolan Could Be Key to Ending Lockout

Pete Schauer@@Pete_SchauerCorrespondent IDecember 3, 2012

Sunday, Dec. 2 marked the 78th day of the NHL lockout, and if discussions continue to go as planned, you can kiss the season goodbye.

According to CBS Sports' Brian Stubits, Gary Bettman wanted no part of a players/owners-only meeting when meetings ended last week—clearly Bettman wants this lockout to drag on as long as possible.

One person that would like to see the lockout end is New York Rangers owner James Dolan, who has expressed interest in a players/owners-only meeting in order to end the lockout, according to Stubits.

ESPN's NHL twitter account confirmed that notion, tweeting:

New York Rangers owner James Dolan interested in players and owners meeting, source says es.pn/YjX432

— ESPN NHL coverage (@ESPN_NHL) December 1, 2012

Dolan clearly has a vested interest in ending the lockout. For one, his Rangers were on the cusp of the Stanley Cup Finals last season and were projected by many to make another run at the Cup this season. 

But more importantly, according to ESPN's Katie Strang, Forbes magazine ranked the Rangers No. 2 among profitable NHL teams, which is really why Dolan wants his guys back on the ice (not that there's anything wrong with that).

So why not let him step in and attempt to end the lockout?

As Strang reminds us, Dolan was an integral member in the negotiations that eventually ended the NBA lockout. I'm sure the NHL Players Association wouldn't mind seeing some new faces from the owner's side, as Jeremy Jacobs, Murray Edwards, Craig Leipold and Ted Leonsis have more than worn out their welcome with the players.

Going against Dolan is the fact that he and Bettman don't have the coziest of relationships, which is something Stubits touched on in his piece.

NHL agent Allan Walsh also points out the icy relationship between the two in this tweet:

Now that NYR+Knicks owner James Dolan (an enemy of Bettman) wants in on CBA talks, watch for certain pro-owner media to attack him. (1)

— Allan Walsh (@walsha) December 2, 2012

Coincidentally (or not), Strang reports that Pittsburgh Penguins owner Rob Burkle and Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson would also like to get involved, which probably isn't a bad idea either.

With 422 regular-season games already canceled (h/t CBS Sports), it's time to bring some new faces into the negotiation meetings and get this thing hammered out, before the entire season is lost for good.

 

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