How long talks last is anyone’s guess. In less than 24 hours the mood in New York has been downgraded from cautiously optimistic to just cautious, if not downright glum.
True, every negotiation has its ups and downs, but for hockey fans (the ones still paying attention) it’s frustrating all the same.
The NHLPA has spent much of the day meeting internally and planning its response to the NHL. The union has also reportedly requested the return of federal mediators, which may say something about its confidence in convincing owners to move off their positions.
Meanwhile, the NHL isn’t so sure mediation is necessary.
Bill Daly told me the NHL has not agreed to a mediator yet and has "no idea" why a mediator is needed "at this point in time."
Word of warning: If tonight goes poorly, keep in mind there will still be time to rescue the season.
Not much time. But some.
Update (5:42 p.m. ET): The meeting has started, but NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is not in the room. NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr is present, along with Steve Fehr and some players, but NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and Bob Batterman are the only league representatives present, according to NHL.com writer Dan Rosen.
The NHLPA has a proposal to present to the league and ESPN’s Katie Strang reports that they plans to do so, despite the fact that Bettman isn’t there.
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger