Saturday, January 29, 2005
Updated: January 31, 12:58 PM ET
Super Mario spoke with Domi about lockout
ESPN.com news services
Even Super Mario doesn't know whether the NHL will return this season.
Penguins forward Mario Lemieux, who is in the unique position of being both a player and an owner, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he thinks the chances of salvaging part of the 2004-05 season are "50-50."
"They're negotiating hard and trying to make a deal that's fair for both sides," Lemieux told the Tribune-Review on Friday. "Hopefully, they can do that quickly."
Lemieux also confirmed to the paper that he and Maple Leafs forward Tie Domi, who is influential in the players' association, met to discuss the lockout earlier this week. He said he wasn't involved in the actual labor negotiations but did admit to speaking with Domi "quite a bit." Lemieux had previously said he only made a "quick trip" to Toronto to visit friends.
"I'm trying to do what's best for the game, in general -- maybe trying to get my point across and talk to some different people, making sure that everybody understands what's at stake here and that the game is more important than anything else at this point," he told the paper.
Lemieux said that no one asked him to talk to Domi, which an NHL spokesman confirmed to the Tribune-Review on Friday.
"We don't anticipate asking him at this point in time, but obviously if there came a time or point in negotiations where we think he could be helpful, we wouldn't hesitate to ask him," league spokesman Frank Brown told the paper.
Lemieux does realize that, as one of the most respected players in the game, his opinion might influence others.
"Hopefully," he told the Tribune-Review. "I think the guys understand -- and they're starting to realize -- what's at stake here. Both sides have to give a little bit, and hopefully they all realize that you have to make a deal that allows everybody to stay competitive and make money."
Lemieux didn't seem concerned that the NHL and players' association have no current plans to meet again, despite reports that little to no progress has been made in negotiations.
"I've heard that it's been positive the last two or three meetings and making some progress," Lemieux told the paper. "These things, you just have to stay in the room until you make a deal."