The NHL and NHLPA just finished the first meeting between the two sides with a federal mediator, with another meeting scheduled for tomorrow. There's not much information coming out of these meetings so there's not much to report on them, and in this case "not talking to the media" does not exactly mean a good or bad thing. That's just what happens with federal mediation.
In the meantime, there's been a very interesting story developing throughout the day related to possible fracturing within the owners and is specifically related to Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs. According to Joe Haggerty of CSNNE(who covers the Bruins), Jacobs doesn't appear to be the most friendly owner at the table:
Here's a story illustrating the self-interested, tyrannical leadership at play on the NHL's side:
Winnipeg Jets representation at a recent NHL Board of Governors meeting piped up to say it was opposed to engaging in a long, bloody lockout sure to stymie their franchise's momentum and hurt the game of hockey.
It wasn't Winnipeg owner Mark Chipman, but rather one of the alternate governors representing the Jets.
Bruins Principal Owner and Chairman of the Board of Governors Jeremy Jacobs answered by reprimanding the Winnipeg representative as one of the "new kids on the block" and informed him that he would know when he was allowed to speak in the NHL board room.
As expected, the NHL (and now the Jets themselves) have vehemently denied that such an incident took place with Bill Daly once again calling such a report a "fabrication." If you remember, this was almost the exact same timeline that followed the report that Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider was upset with the direction as well.
If there is one thing we've learned through this process, it's that we cannot believe a single thing that the NHL says to the media and/or publicly. There was zero doubt that Jets principal owner Mark Chipman would make a statement calling the report false, especially since such a leak would likely mean one of those infamous $1 million fines that the NHL is so fond of.
Haggerty has since stated (several times) that he stands by his report. It's interesting that we are now getting independent beat writers, for different media outlets, starting to publish reports of owners becoming frustrated with this process. From the very start of this mess it's been known that only a small number of owners are driving this lockout, considering that only eight owners are needed to block any decision that could be made.
Forbes reported today that there is a bigger gap between the richest and "poorest" teams in the NHL than there has ever been at any time before; it's expected, then, that there would be some division among the owners and that the "old guard" would be the ones keeping the new owners from really being involved. I'm sure, then, that Tom Gaglardi is one of those owners that is intrinsically interested in playing the hard line -- right?
Throughout this entire process public opinion has mostly been on the side of the players. There are certainly a number of fans who just want the players to accept the best deal possible since it's unlikely the NHL ever concedes on anything, but that's the exact problem -- the players are upset that, once again, they are facing a new CBA in which absolutely nothing gets better for the players compared to the old one.
Especially if the owners get what they want in regards to demands for arcane contract restrictions.
This entire process is becoming a gigantic joke; actually, it has been for a very long time. This is just another bullet point in what has become a mind-numbing exercise in futility and frustration.