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Examining the six NHL owners that will meet with players

Dec 3, 2012, 12:32 PM EDT

Ron Burkle AP

Tuesday afternoon in New York, six NHL owners will meet with a handful of players without the presence of commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.

It’s hoped the introduction of some new voices will lead to progress in CBA negotiations.

Here are the six owners that will be in attendance, with a short blurb on their potential role in the talks:

Ron Burkle (Pittsburgh Penguins): If there’s one owner that could bring some goodwill to talks, it may be him. As ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun notes, Burkle was once named “Man of the Year” by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor (he’s also been named the AFL-CIO’s Humanitarian of the Year), so clearly the billionaire’s past dealings with unions have been successful.

Jeremy Jacobs (Boston Bruins): A controversial, though not entirely surprising, invitee. Jacobs has been a fixture in negotiations, along with Murray Edwards (Flames), Ted Leonsis (Capitals) and Craig Leipold (Wild). The players have expressed a good deal of anger at Jacobs’ heavy-handed approach. If he’s a dominant influence tomorrow, it’s hard to see the union being overly receptive.

Mark Chipman (Winnipeg Jets): Last week, he emphatically denied a report that one of the club’s alternate governors was reprimanded by Jacobs in an NHL Board of Governors meeting. Given the way Winnipeg fans supported the NHL’s return to the city last season, it makes sense that Chipman is anxious to make a deal. That said, the Jets are a budget-conscious club that needs to think long-term. Profits are no guarantee in the league’s smallest market.

Murray Edwards (Calgary Flames): Also reportedly a hardliner, though not as much as Jacobs. If we’re looking for a reason to be optimistic, former Flames owner Harley Hotchkiss, who died in 2011, was considered a key figure in ending the 2004-05 lockout after forging a relationship with NHLPA president Trevor Linden, so maybe Edwards will feel some pressure to follow in his peacemaking footsteps.

Larry Tanenbaum (Toronto Maple Leafs): The owner of a 25 percent stake in the NHL’s most profitable franchise can’t be happy that his money machine has stalled. It’s not clear how much the Leafs stand to profit from a new CBA that will likely see the players’ share of revenue fall from 57 percent to 50. For all they gain from lower player costs, some of that will be offset by increased revenue sharing between rich and poor clubs. Tanenbaum won’t want to lose a season.

Jeff Vinik (Tampa Bay Lightning): In mid-October, Vinik said he was optimistic a deal would be struck “sooner rather than later.” A month and a half later, the two sides have yet to bridge the gap. Vinik has been popular with Lightning fans since buying the team in 2010. The hedge fund manager has spent millions on upgrades to the Tampa Bay Times Forum and, despite the team’s relatively low revenue, hasn’t been afraid to commit big dollars to players.

  1. killerpgh - Dec 3, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    A story from the Pittsburgh paper on Burkle – http://triblive.com/mobile/m/msports/3063954-96/burkle-penguins-meeting-nhl-labor-players-attend-union-bettman-fehr

  2. killerpgh - Dec 3, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    I have a good feeling about this up coming meeting. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s just hope. But if this meeting does led to the next step of forming a CBA it’s a sign to me that Bettman needs to go. If the process can’t go forward until the Commish takes himself out of the talks then he needs to be replaced.

    • imleftcoast - Dec 3, 2012 at 4:54 PM

      Bettman is a terrible Commissioner, and always the lawyer. This is not going to be lost on him, and I’d look for him finding ways to sabotage this behind the scenes or in the media. I don’t know why the owners let him go in when he’s 90% responsible for this lockout.

      • madtolive5 - Dec 3, 2012 at 9:36 PM

        I think every hockey fan hates Bettman, but this will fail with JJ there.
        JJ has zero goodwill with the players and probably will ruin these meetings with his stubbornness. Bettman isn’t as in charge as you think. JJ is running this show into the ground.

  3. canucks30 - Dec 3, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    All NHL owners should be at the meeting. There really is no excuse since they will all be at the Board of Governors meeting the following day. The moderates and hard liners need to find an agreement that works for all parties and do so transparently in front of the NHLPA. As it stands the NHL is continuing to follow Gary Bettman, Bill Daly, Jeremy Jacobs and his cartel of hardliners who if given the unilateral control they continue to possess will run the NHL off the proverbial cliff into oblivion.

    • meane56 - Dec 3, 2012 at 1:47 PM

      There is no excuse why ALL Owners and ALL player reps should not be in attendance! I would love for some transparency by all involved. I have maintained throughout that things would be different if all these meetings were broadcast. Let the FANS see who the trouble makers are! Let the FANS be the judge! These Clowns on both sides need to realize that there has been more of an uproar with the american people over the loss of Twinkies then there has been over the loss of another season of the NHL. WakeTFUp!

      • shoobiedoobin - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:14 PM

        I can understand if some owners would need to send a representative for them due to something like health problems. Especially in the case of someone like Mike Illitch, who just wants to play hockey but isn’t in the most tip top shape health-wise.

        I think it’s more relevant realistically to have the most hard line owners stating their case. And don’t hide who you are if you’re one of them. Prove you’re losing money, open your books, state your case calmly and logically and allow for a rebuttal.

      • scionofflame - Dec 3, 2012 at 4:05 PM

        Hey guys? Do you want to imagine 30 owners (or more if you count owners that still have big stakes but aren’t majority) and 200+ players sitting in a room, all trying to drown each other out with who’s right and who’s wrong? Negotiating works best on a scale that is manageable.

        Also, owners are businessmen generally. They have businesses to run to keep making the money that allows them to own your favorite franchise. Reality check here, folks. Just saying.

      • nyccaniac - Dec 3, 2012 at 7:06 PM

        Agree, in fact, I can’t believe all owners aren’t involved. The smaller franchises are inadequately represented – perhaps because they would want to Reach. An. Agreement.
        That was my ex causing the Twinkie uproar – we need HIM to settle this – one thing he can do is negotiate settlements quick. Too bad he’s Twinkie King right now.

  4. sabatimus - Dec 3, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Jacobs. This meeting is already over.

    • meane56 - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:19 PM

      Somebody please tell me why you think Jacobs has power over 29 other owners and the entire league? Why do many people think that he is freakin Tony Montana? Is Jacobs an old curmudgeon, of course he is! Is he a “hawk”, I guess so, whatever that means! But is he the ruler of the free world? You people make it sound like he is the leader of al qaeda for crying out loud. I find it very hard to believe that one man is the reason why there is no hockey right now!

      • scionofflame - Dec 3, 2012 at 4:02 PM

        Less that he has ‘power’ over anyone and more that he’s a known agitator that can stall out negotiations with his demands and general demeanor.

      • tatdue - Dec 3, 2012 at 4:07 PM

        With Jacobs and Bettman working together they only need 6 other owners to agree with them (or not want to piss them off) to keep this b@llsh!t lock out going! Before you make stupid comments trying to demean everyone’s educated understanding of the situation maybe you should do some reading yourself and get caught up to the rest of the people on the site…….

      • meane56 - Dec 4, 2012 at 8:52 AM

        Demean everyone’s educated understanding? You are the one calling me stupid. I don’t believe I have been disparaging to anyone on these boards. So you are trying to say that 6 owners with Jacobs as the leader can control the fate of 23 other owners and the league? Why don’t you ed-ju-ma-cate me boss.

      • tatdue - Dec 4, 2012 at 10:07 AM

        meane56 – You say that you don’t believe you have been disparaging to anyone on these boards, so tell me are you complimenting every one when you said “Why do many people think that he is freakin Tony Montana?” and “Is he a “hawk”, I guess so, whatever that means! But is he the ruler of the free world? You people make it sound like he is the leader of al qaeda for crying out loud” That all sounds like sarcasm to me, and that is insulting. As far as educating you – how about you educating yourself, every one else does……and one more thing don’t change my words I said “with Jacobs AND BETTMAN working together they only need 6 other owners to agree with them to keep this b@llsh!t lock out going” Look up the powers of the Commissioner and the Chairman of the BOG…..like I said, educate yourself!

      • meane56 - Dec 4, 2012 at 11:03 AM

        Sarcastic, yes I will agree with you on that. Demeaning to anyone in particular, don’t think so! Who voted Jeremy Jacobs Chairman of the Board of Governors of the NHL? Who voted for the Lockout? “I asked for a show of hands as to whether or not the room was in support of how we’ve been approaching negotiations,” Bettman said at a packed press conference. “One member asked for a formal motion, which was made, and seconded. The vote was taken. And it was unanimous.”

  5. semin28 - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    What a game Rams and Saints

    • lordstanley65 - Dec 3, 2012 at 6:23 PM

      Indy and Detroit too…

  6. Eberwizzle - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    Since nothing is working I suggest this….CANCEL THE ENTIRE SEASON NOW, owners do not make a press conference, do not comment, do not contact the NHLPA, do not schedule any talks. Make them come begging on their knees to come back to get paid MILLIONS to play a game while police officers, firefighters, soldiers fighting a war, teachers will have to work 10 years to see a million. I’M DONE WITH THE NHL!!!

    • scionofflame - Dec 3, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      Good. Get out. We don’t want you.

      • Eberwizzle - Dec 4, 2012 at 8:22 AM

        “Good. Get out. We don’t want you.” Funny…..that’s exactly what the players and the owners are telling you!!!

  7. lexbubba - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    i’d like to know why dolan wasn’t included this meeting when i’ve read that he wants to be there – i mean, i have an idea why gary said no but i’d like someone to actually say why some owners were chosen and others weren’t. having some of the bigger market owners (like the ones who want the lockout to end???) might actually help move this thing along…

    • meane56 - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:55 PM

      I’d like to know how the owners and the players are picked? Who determined the 6 owners? Was there a vote amongst the 30 owners? How about the players? Will they be hand picked by Don Fehr? Will they all be union player reps that were voted such by their teammates? Do the NHLPA members vote who they want to represent the players? The more I think about this meeting the more I see the same old same old, it’s second’s in charge meeting with a few new owners and a few new players added to the mix. I see no significant difference from past meetings between Daly and Steve Fehr.

      • scionofflame - Dec 3, 2012 at 4:03 PM

        The owners were chosen by…the league? The players are being chosen by the union. They’re sending in the people they think are the best mix of attitudes and tactics, and hopefully it works. As for Dolan…well, he did have a lawsuit involving Bettman back in 2007.

      • tatdue - Dec 3, 2012 at 4:33 PM

        The owners that will be there are picked by the Chairman of the Board of Governors, you know that Jacobs guy that you have a hard time believing is behind this thing! As for the players, they’re obviously picked by Fehr and the Union and anybody else that wants to go I’d guess, the way it’s been since the beginning…….and I also agree that this won’t really be any different then past meetings between Daly and Steve Fehr……..

    • tatdue - Dec 3, 2012 at 4:21 PM

      Dolan is not going to be there because he clearly wants to get a deal done….in other words not the guy that Jacobs or Bettman want there!

    • jusbeinian - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:02 PM

      Tannenbaum is going to be there he owns 25% of the Leafs he wants them to get playing.
      Realistically though nothing in these discussions will be given any traction till Fehr and Betteman have dissected the discussion and then tweaked it to see if they can wrench more from either side.
      Decertification is likely going to have to at the least be iitiated before any real movement from the NHL toward the Pa is going to happen .I pray im wrong but this thing looks to be headed for a nuclear winter

    • jusbeinian - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:05 PM

      Tannenbaum is going to be there he owns 25% of the Leafs he wants them to get playing.
      Realistically though nothing in these discussions will be given any traction till Fehr and Betteman have dissected the discussion and then tweaked it to see if they can wrench more from either side.
      Decertification is likely going to have to at the least be initiated before any real movement from the NHL toward the Pa is going to happen .I pray im wrong but this thing looks to be headed for a nuclear winter

  8. id4joey - Dec 3, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    All of you who have been dumping on me because of my optimistic views back in October can now dump your frustrations on Jeff Vinik. lol

  9. id4joey - Dec 3, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    imleftcoast, because he does what at least 8 of the owners tell him do.

    • woodstakes - Dec 3, 2012 at 7:30 PM

      Hey, Joey why don’t you just click on the fancy little “reply” button and then maybe people will see your comments in context!

  10. eyeh8goodell - Dec 3, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Nothing good will come of having Jacobs in the room.

  11. id4joey - Dec 3, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    woodstakes, that is a faire question. The NBC Sports Talk App on the iPad or iPhone doesn’t have a reply button. Once in a while I will use a browser, and use the reply button. Sorry! When I use an i device I usually start a comment with the name of the person I’m replying to.

    • valoisvipers - Dec 4, 2012 at 12:41 AM

      Joey looks like you need to put on some more insect repellant the black flies are all over you tonight. Trolls will be trolls.

    • woodstakes - Dec 4, 2012 at 12:57 AM

      Hey Joey, thats cool.. I didn’t realize they don’t link up on other devices.. I guess i’m always using my browser so I guess i’ll just claim ignorant… not an excuse. Was NOT trying to be a troll. I just see you use the reply then other times you don’t… ~shrug~ Sometimes when you respond to my comments I see them like 30 comments down and wonder WTH you were thinking… NOW I know! LoL

  12. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Dec 4, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    While I won’t pretend to know what has been going on behind the scenes, my guess is that Vinik would probably be one of the owners most willing to get a deal done. He has been an incredibly generous owner since arriving here, both in terms of helping the community via donations and also in renovating the stadium, all of which he has done out of his own pocket. He has also been looking at purchasing property in the Channel side area, likely an attempt to further improve the Lightning brand.

    To me, his actions seem like those of an owner who is actually aware of the importance of the fans, rather than a guy intent on driving the NHL vehicle straight into oblivion. Every action he has taken since arriving here has involved building fan interest, and they have worked. We’re frustrated but still hungry for hockey down here, and my guess is that Vinik would be one of the few owners willing to make concessions so we can get the game going again. The big question is whether or not he could even have any impact with all the other hardliners, and on that I have little to no confidence, unfortunately.

  13. bobc74 - Dec 4, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    Here’s what I don’t understand about sport team owners. Mark Chipman moved his team to what this article is calling “the smallest market in the league”. What?? Better question, WHY???? If I was the owner of a sports team, no matter how much the fans are begging, I’d only move my team to a city where it would be PROFITABLE to do so.

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