The Pittsburgh Penguins want the lockout over. This notion has been speculated on for weeks; it was even reported that the Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers sought to team up to rally high-revenue teams to get the new CBA done.
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins captain, wants the lockout over. Badly. Injuries have limited him to 63 games in the last two seasons; and when he did play in the 2012 Eastern Conference playoffs, his team was humbled in the first round.
So it's natural that Ron Burkle, Penguins co-owner, and Crosby would be positive forces in the lengthy players/owners meeting being conducted in New York City on Tuesday night.
How positive? Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports that they're pushing hard to get a deal done:
Burkle and Crosby were described by participants in the five-hour talks as voices of reason. Their shared point of view: The NHL should not risk another round of canceled games — they're already canceled through Dec. 14 — and the league may not recover if a season is lost to a labor dispute for the second time in eight years, the sources said.
The Penguins are a moderate in the labor war, but they will not break ranks at the Governors' meeting, sources said. Rather, their contingent will try to establish what owners need to reach an agreement, the sources said. Crosby also will not break ranks with the players' union, but his objective over the past week has been to establish common ground among players who have lost trust in NHL ownership and management as a whole, the sources said.
Over the past few weeks, Crosby, Burkle and Lemieux have privately discussed plans to bridge the gap between players and owners. The sources said all three had grown frustrated with the lack of progress.
The "Lemieux," of course is Mario, whose absence from this process has been maddening at times. If all it takes for the NHL to move the gears on a deal is a new voice in the room, Mario's could have been vital much earlier in the process.
Meanwhile, his former house boy has impressed us throughout this lockout. Not only has Sidney Crosby (so far) opted not to bolt to Europe like many other NHL stars, he's been involved and out front on the NHLPA side of the negotiations.
This meeting is no different; and while we'll wait to see if Sidney Christ can be an agent of peace, there's no question he deserves credit thus far for his effort.