Burkle's arrival at labor talks offers hope to Penguins players
Feeling resentment toward certain NHL owners is currently commonplace among NHL players, especially for a loyal union man like Penguins left wing Matt Cooke.
Penguins owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux, however, were loyal to Cooke during perhaps the most difficult time of his life. And Cooke's respect for them remains.
Burkle will attempt to jump-start labor negotiations Tuesday in New York as part of a small NHL committee that will meet with a handful of players. Cooke and many teammates said they believe Burkle's presence gives negotiations a fresh hope.
“I have nothing but praise for Ron and Mario,” Cooke said. “Obviously, with what I went through, their support and their ability to communicate with me in a constructive manner and standing beside me for all the stuff I went through … I'd say I have a great relationship with them.”
Cooke was referring to his 17-game suspension that concluded his 2010-11 season and the subsequent summer of change he underwent. The veteran became a different player and a better man during that summer, and team ownership was behind him.
“Ron's been great every time I've had a conversation with him,” Cooke said. “Every time we're in L.A., he brings us to his house. When we're somewhere when he can be around, he's there. It's always great to see him, and it's great to see that he's going to be there (in New York on Tuesday).”
The Penguins speak highly of their ownership, and that has not changed despite the lockout. Burkle and Lemieux are considered moderates in NHL circles — certainly not hard line, anti-union figures such as Boston's Jeremy Jacobs and Washington's Ted Leonsis.
Many Penguins called for “new blood” in the next installment of negotiations. Burkle is no stranger to negotiating, but this is the first time he has involved himself in the NHL dispute.
“Just from dealing with him in the past,” defenseman Ben Lovejoy said, “I'd say we're all feeling pretty optimistic about him being involved.”
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who maintains a strong relationship with Burkle and former landlord Lemieux, is one of the several players expected to attend the meetings.
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Just wait until Ben comes back
- Bell’s last-second TD lifts Steelers over Chargers
- Steelers notebook: Receiver Bryant inactive for game vs. Chargers
- Penguins’ Morehouse says city has amenities needed for world-class hockey events
- Steelers defense displays resiliency in victory over Chargers
- Looking toward home opener, Penguins work to end scoring drought
- Penguins notebook: Left wing rotation puts Perron with Malkin
- Home invader shot, killed in Mt. Washington
- Education tech firm Acrobatiq does software to supplement college learning
- Pa. Supreme Court ‘disturbed by content’ of emails attributed to justice
- Ellwood City Area School District avoids strike set for Tuesday