According to a report in the Toronto Star, Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs very nearly walked out of Wednesdays late-night negotiation session between the NHL players and NHL owners.
Jacobs reportedly mentioned something to Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly about stepping away from the negotiating table and potentially abruptly ending the session with a group of players.
But cooler heads prevailed as other owners defused the situation from going nuclear and the tenuous line of communication remained open.
The anecdote about hard-line owner Jacobs was mentioned in the same few paragraphs as an account of Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller losing his temper when an owner expressed disappointment about one of the offers from the players.
With reports of players losing their cool in meetings, players on the outside of the talks are hopeful those kinds of outbursts can be held to the minimum as CBA discussions enter a very delicate stage.
We all have to remember not to bring emotion into it, and to simply treat it like a business negotiation. Thats what the owners are going to do, and were best served doing the same thing, said Lucic. Were definitely more encouraged and theres more optimism. They seem headed in the right direction.
But until a deal is done you have to be a little bit cautious. Its definitely a positive thing that it seems to be moving in the right direction. The anxiousness and the excitement are definitely there. Its tough to stay cautious because youre thinking about the what if questions if we do start the season. But you cant get too far ahead because weve already been let down in that sense.
The two stories outline feelings of frustration and fear that things were about to fall apart after two days of marathon CBA negotiations had brought the two sides closer together, and thats the backdrop for Thursdays negotiations that are expected to begin late afternoon at the earliest.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr are expected to enter negotiations on Thursday as well as the two sides sit 93 million apart on the make whole provision along with some differences among a few player contract rights: the term limit for contracts and the potential length of the CBA along with the players pension plan.
The expectation is still that the NHL and NHLPA will execute a deal by the end of the week and a new season will begin in December, but its vital both sides avoid the kind of passionate outbursts that could derail the entire process.