It could be one part wishful thinking and one part last chance grasp at straws, but Wednesday will see the NHL players association and NHL officials meet to try and find some common ground. Word leaked out today that Trevor Linden of the player's association took the bull by the horns so to speak and made the call to the league office, setting up what could possibly be the very last gasp of a season surely near expiration. Linden the leading union member in the NHLPA felt the time had come to try and have some face to face dialogue and rather than wait for the league to pick up the phone decided to make a call himself.
Full credit to him for at least trying to get the two sides back to focusing on the issues that have led to the shutdown of the game. Whether he will find success remains to be seen, but at least both sides are making an effort, the current scenario hasn't been working out too good.
Wednesday's meeting will be held without the current principles in the debate Bob Goodenow and Gary Bettman. Instead Ted Saskin, Linden and lawyer John McCambridge will represent the players, Bill Daly, Flames Governor Harley Hotchkiss and lawyer Bob Batterman will sit across the table for the ownership group.
Perhaps a meeting without the two protagonists will at least give them some talking points for future discussion. But one hopes they all realize Wednesday that time is of the essence! With Bettman and Goodenow absent from the proceedings it's hope that the animosity level might be reduced, giving both sides a clearer picture as to the distance between the two parties.
It's not expected that any form of an agreement would be negotiated on Wednesday, more likely is a free flow of information from both sides to give each an idea of whether there is any hope for a fruitful resolution to the impasse at hand.
In Mob War parlance this is meeting of the capo's, possibly setting the table for a full fledged summit of the Bosses. One of two outcomes is likely, a realization that the turf both sides are after has room for all, or full fledged Mob War, with no prisoners and only innocent bystanders in the way!