Talks go­ing well, com­mis­sioner says

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS -

New YORk — Ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween hockey own­ers and play­ers are go­ing so well that NHL Com­mis­sioner Gary Bettman says he’s “pleased with the process” — even if he has been left out­side the lat­est rounds of dis­cus­sions.

Still stuck on the perime­ter with play­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Don­ald Fehr, Bettman made a brief state­ment Wed­nes­day on the state of the on­go­ing lock­out af­ter the league’s board of gov­er­nors met for about two hours.

Bettman de­clined to take any ques­tions as he stood at an NHL podium in a Man­hat­tan ho­tel, just one floor away from where talks re­sumed for a sec­ond straight day. A ray of hope that a sea­son­sav­ing deal could be made emerged late Tues­day night af­ter about eight hours of bar­gain­ing.

“We are pleased with the process that is on­go­ing, and out of re­spect for that process I don’t have any­thing else to say,” Bettman said.

Some ex­ec­u­tives spoke briefly as they scur­ried on New York streets and hopped into cars af­ter the board of gov­er­nors meet­ing. No de­tails emerged, but the mood seemed pos­i­tive.

“We feel good about the in­for­ma­tion we got,” new Colum­bus Blue Jack­ets pres­i­dent John David­son said.

Larry Ta­nen­baum of the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the six own­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing in th­ese ne­go­ti­a­tions, also painted an op­ti­mistic pic­ture as he walked back to the ho­tel host­ing the meet­ings.

“We’re go­ing to con­tinue to talk up un­til we get a deal,” said Ta­nen­baum, who added there is more clar­ity on both sides where each group stands. “All I can say is as long as we’re talk­ing we’re hope­ful.”

If a break­through can be made soon, the de­layed and short­ened hockey sea­son could get go­ing quickly.

“I’ve al­ways been hope­ful there would be a sea­son,” said Lou Lamor­iello, the New Jersey Devils pres­i­dent and gen­eral man­ager.

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