Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

DIGEST: NHL Owners, Players to Meet Face to Face Tuesday

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

DIGEST: NHL Owners, Players to Meet Face to Face Tuesday

Article excerpt

NHL owners, players to meet face to face Tuesday

Traditional labor talks have done little to make progress in the NHL lockout, so the league and the players' association are going to try something different in an attempt to save a season that is slipping away.

A crew of six owners will meet with a handful of players on Tuesday in New York -one day before the league's board of governors meeting -without Commissioner Gary Bettman and union executive director Donald Fehr. Bettman proposed the unique meeting on Wednesday when talks broke off following two days of negotiations with federal mediators, and it wasn't agreed to until Sunday.

Originally the thought was no one other than owners and players would be in attendance, but each side will have staff and counsel there. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly will probably participate for the NHL, along with union special counsel Steve Fehr.

Ron Burkle (Pittsburgh Penguins), Mark Chipman (Winnipeg Jets), Murray Edwards (Calgary Flames), Jeremy Jacobs (Boston Bruins), Larry Tanenbaum (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Jeff Vinik (Tampa Bay Lightning) will take part in the talks, Daly said. The players' association didn't immediately announce who will attend from its side.

"No further details have been confirmed at this point," Daly said in a statement announcing the meeting. "We will provide further details when available and as appropriate."

Many conditions needed to be worked out before this meeting could be scheduled. The sides were in contact over the weekend and finally saw eye to eye on Sunday night. Now they need to figure out how to break through on the financial issues and player contracting disputes that are keeping them apart and putting the entire hockey season at risk.

The union has allowed any players who wanted to attend previous bargaining sessions to come, but the NH L has limited which owners could take part.

Jacobs, considered one of the hard-line owners, and Edwards are the only members of the group of six to have taken part in previous negotiations.

"The NHLPA has agreed to a meeting on Tuesday in New York that should facilitate dialogue between players and owners," Donald Fehr said in a statement. …

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