NHL owners, players set to meet without leaders
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NEW YORK — Traditional labor talks have made little progress in the ongoing NHL lockout, so the league and the players’ association are going to try something different in an attempt to save the season.
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 likely participate for the NHL, along with union special counsel Steve Fehr.
The Bruins’ Jeremy Jacobs will take part in the talks for the league, Daly said, as will Ron Burkle (Pittsburgh), Mark Chipman (Winnipeg), Murray Edwards (Calgary), Larry Tanenbaum (Toronto), and Jeff Vinik (Tampa Bay).
‘‘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.’’
Six players will be picked for the meeting, but the list wasn’t expected to be announced on Sunday, a union spokesman said. Neither the NHL nor the NHLPA had input on who would attend on the opposite side, Daly said in an e-mail to the Associated Press.
All games through Dec. 14 have already been wiped off the schedule, along with the outdoor Winter Classic on New Year’s Day and All-Star Weekend that was slated for January in Columbus, Ohio. The lockout reached its 78th day on Sunday.
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.
The union has allowed players who wanted to attend previous bargaining sessions to come, but the NHL has limited which owners could take part.
‘‘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. ‘‘There will be owners attending this meeting who have not previously done so, which is encouraging and which we welcome. We hope that this meeting will be constructive and lead to a dialogue that will help us find a way to reach an agreement.’’
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.