Expectations from many is that the players/owners meeting on Tuesday isn’t going to have much of an impact as neither side appears ready to come off their stances but at least one NHL insider see’s Ron Burkle’s inclusion in the meeting as important in bringing credibility to the situation as word out of Penguin circles is that Burkle doesn’t intend to go into Tuesday’s meeting as a puppet to Jeremy Jacobs.
Burkle widely regarded as a big time deal maker, has ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun among those who feels Burkle could make an impact. “Burkle’s inclusion is the key, in my opinion,” LeBrun writes. “Hugely successful in his private businesses, the billionaire has a reputation as a deal-maker. Heck, he once named “Man of the Year” by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. He negotiated with unions many times in his business career. How could he not be a benefit to this process? Burkle, I’m told, has strongly wanted to get involved of late and I believe he’s going into this meeting with the intent of doing everything he can to close the gap between sides. And I don’t think Jacobs’ presence in the room means a newbie like Burkle is going to take any marching orders from him. So, I can only take it as a positive that Burkle, with his impressive track record in his real-life business world, is taking a stab at this. Fresh voices are needed in this impasse, that’s clear and obvious. But it’s not just new voices that are needed, but rather voices that matter, voices that can make the difference. And I think, in Burkle, there’s a real positive here.” LeBrun it should be noted has been one of the few optimistic pundits throughout the lockout so far.
Burkle does not have a close relationship with any Penguins as he lets the true hockey minds run the team, but he’s very well respected by two key figures on the NHLPA’s side in Penguin players Craig Adams and Sidney Crosby who are among the top players involved in talks.
Crosby is expected to be a part of the meeting on Tuesday.