Thursday, January 27, 2005

Last Minute Deal?

Three meetings in seven days, the first real talks in almost a year, the first signs of progress since '94. The clock is seconds from midnight, the drop-dead date for any semblance of a season is almost certainly sometime this week, but we just might be able to squeak this one out.

Following up on last week's meetings initiated by NHLPA President Trevor Linden, the two parties met yesterday in Toronto. The owners were represented by Vice-President Bill Daly, Flames owner Harley Hotchkiss, outside counsel Bob Batterman and surprise guest Devils GM and CEO Lou Lamarillo. The players were represented by Linden, PA Senior Director Ted Saskin and outside counsel John McCambridge.

Lamarillo's presence was apparently requested by the players, who view the Devil's head huncho as one of the few executives who actually wants to make a deal.

There were also unconfirmed sightings of Penguins owner Mario Lemieux. The 'Magnificent One' had cancelled his appearance at the Bob Hope Charity Classic Golf tournament, citing a 'meeting' in Toronto.

Specifics from the meeting are sketchy at best, as both sides have imposed a media blackout in the hope that a repeat of last week's debacle can be avoided. The media was told the meeting was taking place at the Sutton Place Hotel but was not allowed inside. However, the meeting actually took place a few blocks away at the Park Hyatt without the media ever catching wind.

Talks are set to resume either today or tomorrow in New York

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