They had their doubts about mediation and have resisted the urge to get too excited about any part of the negotiations during the National Hockey League lockout.
So, you’ll have to excuse some of the Winnipeg Jets still in town if they take a cynical look at the latest idea being pitched by the league: a sit down between owners and players that doesn’t involve those previously at the table, particularly commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Players’ Association executive director Don Fehr.
"It could be a good idea," said Andrew Ladd today. "There always seems to be a catch with every idea the owners have. But if it’s something where we could get all 30 owners in the same room with representatives from each team and talk, just so they know where we’re sitting and where everybody stands then, yeah, it could be positive.
"But only if it’s done in the right way. If it’s still the same guys from their end talking... if it’s (Boston Bruins’ owner) Jeremy Jacobs in there spewing his stuff, I don’t think it’s going to move this process forward."
Another week has gone by with no resolution to the lockout, now into its third month, in sight. Today the players missed their fourth paycheque of what was supposed to have been the 2012-13 season. U.S. federal mediators were involved in discussions on Wednesday and Thursday, but the two sides pushed away from the table saying no progress had been made. That prompted the league to suggest the owners-players meeting as a next possible step.
"It would be nice to sit down and talk and see where they’re at and see what they understand and know and see where each side is coming from and try to sort it out like the mature men we all are," said Jim Slater. "That’s the best thing... talking to these owners that really care about hockey and getting it back on the ice. I think there’s a lot of them out there that are like that."