While the owners continue to wait on word from the players if they're interested in doing a sit down without Gary Bettman or NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr, Rangers players Henrik Lundqvist and Marc Staal give their thoughts on the plan…
Here's Lundqvist (via Daily News)…
“If the plan is to have meetings between players and owners to solve this mess, maybe it’s time to allow teams that actually are carrying the league financially to get involved. So far I have not seen any invitations to the meeting room. Without the big market teams the NHL is in BIG trouble so explain to me why they are not invited? in these meetings?”
Marc Staal adds (also via Daily News)…
"I think that it's not going to have any negative impact on the negotiations if we decide to do it. I think any new blood in the room will help, get some high profile players & big market owners in there and see where it goes."
Staal adds that he won't play in Europe unless the season is canceled.
The owners most of the players would like to see out of these talks are those from NHL's negotiating committee including Jeremy Jacobs (Boston Bruins), Craig Leipold (Minnesota Wild), Ted Leonsis (Washington Capitals) and N. Murray Edwards (Calgary Flames).
According to Mark Everson at the New York Post, the Players Association will require the talks not be a negotiation, but rather a conversation in which participants can express themselves.
…probably a smart move by the players not making this a negotiating meeting considering almost all the owners are shrewd businessmen while the players are, well, hockey players.
…which begs the question, what is the point of this meeting? It's not like Bettman has been going rogue in the past negotiation sessions, so the owners are not very likely to move from their stance. Even if moderate owners were present, I doubt they'd risk destroying their relationships with the small market owners by brokering a deal with the players.
…just another ploy to get the fans hope up, which will lead to an inevitable let down.