Penguins’ power play brings deal closer

The players emerged from the room around midnight and scurried down the hotel escalator past reporters, unwilling to share much, if anything.

The smiles on some of their faces, however, suggested it wasn’t a bad day at all.

As one player would later share via text message to ESPN.com, “There was certainly traction. But I don’t want to say more.”

That cautious optimism — the key word being cautious — was on full display when NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA outside counsel Steve Fehr stood shoulder to shoulder in a joint media availability after the marathon sessions, Fehr calling it possibly the best day in the entire process, while Daly nodded in agreement.

But other than that, both sides were tight-lipped. Like a pitcher working on a no-hitter through six innings, it’s too early to get too excited.

I’d be ready to say this, however: I’m willing to bet there’s a far greater chance of hockey this season than not after Tuesday’s developments.

At the center of this fragile momentum is the presence of the Pittsburgh Penguins, led by reclusive billionaire owner Ron Burkle, who shined brightly in talks Tuesday, according to sources, the players receptive to his tone.

Burkle’s first appearance in labor talks comes at a critical time in the process, with both sides having tried nearly everything else — mediation, large group meetings, small group meetings, etc.

http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/post/_/id/20572/penguins-power-play-brings-deal-closer

 


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