Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Despite Lockout, Malones Can Talk

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Despite Lockout, Malones Can Talk

Article excerpt

It might seem, at first blush, to be a clear violation of NHL guidelines.

After all, the league has instructed employees of its teams to avoid communicating with members of the NHL Players' Association until the lockout that has shut down the league since mid-September is over.

There's no exemption for people who are blood relatives and who, say, might end up seated across from one another at a Thanksgiving table.

Too bad, because Ryan Malone, the former Penguins left winger who now plays for Tampa Bay, and Greg Malone, who is the Lightning's head pro scout, would qualify for one.

Now, an NHL official confirmed that the regulations apply only to discussions of "official business," so Greg Malone isn't in danger of being fined if he asks his son to, say, pass the mashed potatoes.

Which might be about as close as they get to crossing any lines the league has drawn.

"The only thing we really talk about is that we both want hockey to start," Ryan Malone said Tuesday after participating in an informal workout with some former teammates at Southpointe. "I don't think we know any significant secrets to tell each other."

No, most of that kind of information can now be found in New York, where the league and union are scheduled to re-start negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement today.

They met for the first time in eight days Monday evening, and the NHLPA apparently spent much of Tuesday working on the comprehensive economic proposal the league requested.

What the union offers -- or, more to the point, how the NHL responds to that offer -- figures to have a profound impact on the prospects of a settlement anytime soon. The key points of contention appear to be the division of revenues -- the NHL wants to link the players' share to growth and make it a set percentage, while the players have sought a firm figure -- and issues pertaining to the structure and length of contracts.

At this point, if there's significant optimism on either side that an agreement is close, it's guarded. So guarded that it's under lock-and-key and hidden in a dungeon.

"It doesn't, obviously, look good," Malone said. "We just have to wait until we feel there's a fair deal out there. …

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