Thursday, April 14, 2005

A split in the solidarity of ownership?

The Globe and Mail today has an interesting story on Gary Bettman's trip to Toronto, Gary it seems will be checking in with the folks at Maple Leaf Sport and Entertainment on Friday to try and smooth the way for a sharing of the wealth.

While the Commissioner makes his case for the Leafs to move on the revenue sharing issue, in effect helping to bolster the weaker teams with some of that legendary Maple Leaf money.

When he's not bending ears and twisting arms, Bettman will be given a bit of information of his own that could have a far reaching effect on where we are come September. It appears that the Maple Leaf management will be stressing in no uncertain terms that they don't particularly feel like running the show with replacement players next season.

And with that comes the crack in the wall of solidarity. For it seems that the league has a bit of a problem with their one supposed ace in the hole, hockey at any cost with any player in September.

While there are still some relative hard heads on the replacement player issue, mainly led by Boston, Carolina, Florida and Nashville and apparently now including Dallas and San Jose, there are those that are loathe to use replacements and would do so under severe duress.

Wayne Gretzky is one who would run his team with replacements reluctantly, though which team that may be remains a mystery. The current Coyote president is rumored to be taking the coaching reigns over in Phoenix or heading to New York to run the entire zoo known as the Rangers. Regardless one assumes he won't do anything, unless he's using those players that he is most familiar with and those who still carry a union card.

If even there is a grain of truth in the Globe story it's good news for the long forgotten hockey fan, with meetings coming up shortly between the players and owners the ugly stick of the replacement player option may finally be moved away from the table, giving both sides a bit of room to finally get a deal done and get back to putting their game back together. Perhaps even both sides can then remember the folks that have the longest memories of all, the fans who may not be too keen to reward either side with their loyalty, come that long awaited settlement day

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