Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The plot thickens!

Secret meetings, clandestine phone calls, creative diversions for the media, everything but a contract killing, ah the things of a Ludlum thriller. But wait, no it's the latest creation from those masters of mayhem, Bob and Gary.

The latest from the NHL front has our favourite union leader and the overseer of everything hockey arranging a secret meeting for later this week. Montreal owner George Gillett going so far as to suggest that things may finally be moving in the right direction.

No meddling media need follow, this time they plan on keeping everything on the QT, no strategic leaks of positions this time. They'll just get together and try to hash things out, hopefully before the entry draft date rolls around.

And while the principles give us the indication that progress may soon be made, other quarters start to suggest a completely different outcome is a possibility.

Hockey Rumours has a story that those Boston money guys Bain and Game Plan are still trying to float their "buy it all plan". The latest is that they are approaching the richer of the NHL franchises to help them buy the league, eliminate those worry wart (and under financed) owners and get on with the game. There may be a bit of reality to this rumour, at the recent owners get together Toronto Maple Leaf management were shouted down and left shaken after they suggested that they could live with a higher salary cap to get the game back on the ice.

Perhaps this latest meeting of the NHLPA and the NHL is a bid by the current owners to circumvent the Bain and Game Plan people before they can create some allies. Or possibly it is to set the stage for a declaration of impasse in the US courts and thus an opportunity to launch with replacement players next September.

Regardless, it should be interesting to see how things play out over the next few months. The owners may not be as united as they think, 30 is a large number to keep on the same song sheet especially when an outsider comes along to warble a few love songs of their own.

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