A few quick Hump Day morning hits for the dear readers:
â€˘ The first mediated negotiation between the NHL and its Playersâ€™ Association is slated to be held this afternoon. Neither side is disclosing the location. The Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service (FMCS) has said it will not comment about any nature of the talks so long as it is involved, so it is likely the information made public after these sessions will be less than over previous ones.
There is no optimism from either side that this mediation will lead to a deal. NHL folks say privately their hope is that a mediator does not make things worse, and Tribune-Review colleague Josh Yohe was told this by Penguins players on Tuesday: http://triblive.com/sports/3032579-85/nhl-adams-league-mediator-negotiations-penguins-players-sides-union-wednesday#axzz2DWyVH5Is
After reading that report, check out this from the New York Daily Newsâ€™ Pat Leonard on Rangers star Brad Richardsâ€™ pessimism: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/hockey/rangers/richards-lockout-scared-game-article-1.1209050
â€˘Â Josh heard from Sidney Crosby late Tuesday night, and Tweeted that Crosby will join other NHL players for a group workout in Arizona. Not a shocker, as Crosby told the Tribâ€™s other hockey scribe last Friday that attending the Arizona camp was a possibility.
As for Crosby and Europe, nothing has really changed on that front. Though, here is what agent Pat Brisson had to say on the topic when it came up during a chat Tuesday:
â€śWeâ€™re working on different options,â€ť Brisson said in an email. â€śNothing is certain yet.â€ť
Crosby and Brisson have both been open with their stances that Crosby would likely only play in another league if the NHL season was canceled, or looking like it would be, and that insuring him would be a financial burden for many, if not most, European teams.
â€˘Â Great work by this blogâ€™s great friend, Josh Cooper of the (Nashville) Tennessean, on Penguins assistant to the GM, Tom Fitzgerald: http://www.tennessean.com/article/20121128/SPORTS02/311280107/Fitzerald-fits-well-Penguins?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CSports%7Cp&nclick_check=1
We need a Springsteen song for Fitzgerald, Coop. Just sayingâ€¦
â€˘Â In addition to some book writing, the lockout has given this blogâ€™s author a chance to reconnect with his first true love, the Rolling Stones. Cannot urge enough that everybody check out â€śCrossfire Hurricane,â€ť the HBO documentary on the Stonesâ€™ early career; nothing better has captured completely that which made them the greatest rock-and-roll band in the world â€“ a magical combination of creativity and danger that no rock band has lived up to since.
Itâ€™s easy to forget because of how long theyâ€™ve been together, and maybe what they are now, but the first 15 years of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were just better than anything before or since. Watch â€śCrossfire Hurricane,â€ť especially if you arenâ€™t a Stones fan. Itâ€™s worth it, alone, for the way former bassist Bill Wyman described the way he, Richards and drummer Charlie Watts drive the rhythm engine of that band.
â€˘Â Finally, since there is so little great news in our hockey world, letâ€™s end on a truly wonderful note:
Alexander Letang was born last Friday morning in Montreal. New dad, Kris Letang, sounds completely exhausted and overwhelmed â€“ and very much in a great way. The baby boy is healthy, but that is all the details the new papa would share.
Kris Letang is a very private soul, and there should be no expectation for him to turn his family life into a public affair. That said, to report he is thrilled would be an all-time understatement.
Good luck, Alexander. If you are lucky youâ€™ll be blessed with papaâ€™s skating legs â€“ and hair.