As the NHLPA continues to have internal discussions about accepting a meeting between players and owners (without Bettman, Daly, Fehr brothers) that was proposed by the league last week, what the players are demanding is new owners be involved in the process.
While Mario Lemieux, according to sources, intends to continue to take a backseat and not take an active role in talks, Penguins owner Ron Burkle is being asked to get involved from other owners who are looking to be apart of a potential meeting.
How much of a willing participant Burkle intends to be remains to be seen but Burkle is likely to attend the meeting we’re told.
The players feel owners (three prominent owners driving CBA talks) Jeremy Jacobs, Boston Bruins, Wild owner Craig Leopold and Capitals Ted Leonis need to step aside and let there be a new wave of owners involved in discussions. The players right now have hatred for Jacobs, Leopold and Leonis I’m told.
The Penguins from Mario Lemieux to Burkle have been strong supporters of Gary Bettman’s direction in talks as the team would like to see a more favorable system in place for the owners, despite the Penguins being huge beneficiaries of the previous CBA. Burkle though not being apart of the Bettman/Jacobs buddy-buddy group could be seen as a positive from the players but the two owners who could have a strong influence on a breakthrough eventually happening in the next couple weeks is Canadiens owner Geoff Molson and Rangers owner James Dolan.
According to ESPN, Molson and Dolan are also looking to get involved among other owners, and with the Rangers and Canadiens being among the handful of big market teams who carry this league, the players want to hear their input. The players feel no other owners aside from the likes of Jacobs, Leopold and Leonis are having any say on the lockout.