Jump start? Lightning owner Jeff Vinik among group of NHL players and owners to meet in New York
The NHL and the Players Association have agreed to send a limited number of members to New York for a Tuesday meeting without the presence of negotiators, and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik will be part of the group.
Other owners attending will be Boston's Jeremy Jacobs, Pittsburgh's Ron Burkle, Calgary's Murray Edwards, Winnipeg's Mark Chipman, and Toronto's Larry Tanenbaum, the league announced. The union has not announced its representatives, though Lightning star Marty St. Louis has expressed interest in attending.
Vinik, who has not previously attended negotiations, is believed to be a moderate who won't mind the player payroll savings and increased revenue sharing a new collective bargaining agreement will bring but who also wants a season to be played. The Lightning had no immediate comment.
It is hoped a free exchange of ideas without polarizing figures such as commissioner Gary Bettman and union executive director Donald Fehr will spark the stalled negotiations.
"There will be owners attending this meeting who have not previously done so, which is encouraging and which we welcome," Fehr said in a statement. We hope that this meeting will be constructive and lead to a dialog that will help us find a way to reach an agreement."