It’ll be coffee, donuts and hopefully some meaningful conversations as the two far apart sides gather together in New York on Wednesday morning. At 10 am (EST), 7 (PST) Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow will sit down open up their respective black books and proceed to iron out the details on a long term package. Their work could make for an agreement which will guarantee hockey through the first decade of the century. Then again by 10:05 Goodenow could be hollering taxi and we’ll all be picking our favourite WHA franchise to follow.
Wednesday will be the first time the two sides have had a discussion since May 25th and they gather in New York with an eye on that September 15th deadline for the current Collective agreement. The current deal in effect has been extended twice over its ten year life, while both sides put off the eventual need to go to the trenches. The drop dead date arrives one day after the World Cup of Hockey will have been awarded so that beaming smile you’ll see on the 14th may be the last hockey related smile we’ll be treated to for a while.
The Players association has thus far refused to buy into any salary cap situation, while the owners backed up by a 300 million dollar war chest are adamant that there won’t be any hockey unless they can guarantee some form of cost certainty. With as wide a gulf as this one suspects that the two sides will disagree on whether they want maple or chocolate dipped donuts with their coffee.
10 am Wednesday, the time for hockey fans to keep an ear open for sounds of hope or shrieks of dismay. The Bob and Gary show is hitting Broadway; we all anxiously await the reviews.