The discussion that took place Tuesday between six NHL owners and 18 players turned out to be just what was needed. While there is still a ways to go, the owners and players appear to have found much needed traction.
A big key to this is Pittsburgh Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle and Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby. Burkle has been known to get big deals done, namely the Penguins arena deal and others in his personal business. According to reports his presence was very much felt in Tuesday’s meeting.
Early Wednesday, the NHL Board of Governors met. After this meeting, commissioner Gary Bettman held a very brief press conference. When I say brief, I really mean brief. This is what was said, “We are pleased with the process that is ongoing and out of respect for the process, I’m not going to take any questions.”
This is a great sign. In this type of setting and negotiation, the less talk the better. Now virtually the same group that met yesterday is meeting again as I type this, so the key is hopefully more traction is built and we can see the optimism go from “cautious” to “very.”
In my opinion, with everything falling into place and the fact that a deal needs to be done soon to salvage a 50-plus game season, as well as still retain full funds from the sponsors, that a new CBA will be agreed to by next Wednesday at the latest, perhaps as early as this Friday. Hopefully Bettman’s next press conference or at least one within the next week or so, begins with the words, “I have a deal to announce. “