Can Maple Leafs owner Larry Tanenbaum help end the NHL lockout?

Chairman of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Larry Tanenbaum will be part of NHL labour...

Chairman of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Larry Tanenbaum will be part of NHL labour negotiations Tuesday. (QMI Agency file photo)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:45 AM ET

TORONTO - Bashing the billion-dollar Toronto Maple Leafs and their seven-year playoff absence is a favourite fan past-time outside Toronto.

But those same hockey-starved fans might accord a standing ovation to Leafs Nation if Larry Tanenbaum proves to be a key conciliator Tuesday in New York.

The chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, a moderate in this 80-day lockout, will join a mix of hawks and doves from the owners side who are meeting a players’ group in an effort to break the log jam.

“I think Larry has a reputation of being fair to players,” an NHL team executive said Monday. “If he has something to say, the players won’t think he’s trying to stick it to them.

“There’s such an element of suspicion around the talks right now. But having him there and him stating the league’s position might make the players sit back and think, ‘If Larry says it, it must be (genuine).’ ”

Tanenbaum, who knows something of delicate deal-making from a lifetime in major constru


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