from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,
What would it take to get some traction in talks? Is there even the slightest chance Friday’s meeting between the NHL and the NHLPA, on “non-core economic issues” might provide at least some consensus, on any little thing at all (e.g. The sky is blue. Swiss league uniforms are tacky, etc.)?
I put the question to a professional mediator, Lynne Villemaire of Roundtable Mediation and Arbitration Services in Ottawa. Villemaire is a University of Ottawa graduate with a background in dispute resolution, including collective bargaining.
“The fact they’re going in Friday with an agenda that is much less contentious ... something more neutral and probably on subjects that are much easier to discuss and negotiate on is, I think personally, a fantastic strategy,” Villemaire said.
While no one is advised to hold his or her breath on Friday until white smoke rises from a new deal, the big issues should more easily be solved if there is agreement first on smaller items, such as arbitration, player contracts and Olympic participation. For example, if the NHL threw the players a bone on the Olympics, would that not help rebuild trust?