When the NHL and NHLPA meet on Tuesday, the owners who are entering these talks for the first time must bring new ideas to the table that will bring the sides closer on the important labor issues.
Patrick Caisse of TVA Sports shared the details of the meeting.
There are four owners attending Tuesday's meeting who have not been a consistent presence in meetings during the lockout. They are Mark Chipman of the Winnipeg Jets, Larry Tanenbaum of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ronald Burkle of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Jeffrey Vinik of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Of the four owners mentioned above, there is one man who could play a huge role in helping end this lockout, as Pierre LeBrun of TSN points out.
To me key in Tuesday's meeting is inclusion of Pens owner Ron Burkle. He's a big time dealmaker. Brings a lot of credibility to the table.— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) December 3, 2012
Burkle is respected among the players and is a very smart businessman. He could bring a number of ideas to the meeting that both sides can discuss.
Jets owner Mark Chipman is also an owner with the ability to help these labor talks. He represents one of the few small-market teams that actually does well financially.
His franchise made $13.3 million (via Forbes) last year in the NHL's smallest market, so he clearly knows how to run a profitable team that doesn't have the advantages of playing in a large, traditional hockey market.
With so many small-market teams needing certain things from this new CBA, Chipman might be able to find ways to help these types of franchises benefit from the new deal in a way that everyone thinks is fair.
Bringing owners to the table that have the respect of the players and can be expected to make an effort to reach a deal should excite the union, and could lead to more progress than we typically see from labor meetings.
One owner who has been a major part of this lockout and will also take part in Tuesday's meeting is Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs.
What do the players think of Jacobs? Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review gives us an idea with this tweet:
When I ask about Bettman, players kind of shrug. When I ask about Jeremy Jacobs, players get rage in their eyes.— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_Trib) November 30, 2012
Some fans have absolutely no hope that this meeting will be productive just because of Jacobs' presence, but even though he's one of the 'hard-line" owners, he still has a lot to lose in this lockout. His Bruins are the fifth-most valuable NHL franchise, according to Forbes, and the team made $14.2 million during the 2011-12 season.
Jacobs will likely be a central figure in this meeting, but it's up to the owners like Burkle and Chipman to respect the players and try to work out the differences that the two sides currently have by bringing new ideas to the process.
If this meeting does not go well, fans should expect that the NHL could cancel more regular season games later this week after the Board of Governors meeting on Wednesday.