Would these negotiations go any smoother if NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, and those that work directly under them weren’t in the room?
We might find out.
Bettman has suggested that the owners and players meet directly, without league or union personnel being present, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. Fehr and the NHLPA are believed to be considering that option.
Given that the union hasn’t even made a commitment to this hypothetical meeting, it’s not clear when it would occur. However, if it does happen, it sounds like not all of the owners would be present.
“We want to find a way to get to a deal,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said, according to ESPN and TSN’s Pierre LeBrun. “Nothing else has worked. The Commissioner felt that we might as well propose something different. We will see how they respond.”
Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Post-Dispatch on Tuesday.
“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.
Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?
Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”
Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.
The Post-Dispatch goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.
Next four games: Three out of four at home Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.
As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.
For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.
He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.
Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).
That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out
This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:
With Ovechkin out, Caps lines look like this: