Darryl Sutter believes a third party is needed to end the NHL's ongoing labour war. "From my standpoint, I'm not so sure we don't need some sort of outside help, whether it's an arbitrator or a mediator -- whatever you want to call it," the Calgary Flames head coach and GM said yesterday, hours after the latest round of NHL-NHLPA talks ended without any progress being made.
Both sides of the labour war have resisted bringing in a third party during the five-month-old player lockout. But with no plans for the two sides to get together anytime soon, Sutter said the stalemate may need a fresh set of eyes.
"That might be the route now," he said.
Despite reports a deal was imminent and the participation of Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux in yesterday's meeting in New York, Sutter said he doubted the two sides would reach an agreement.
"At this point, these last-ditch efforts are probably futile," he said.
"Going into today, I knew it would be tough with all the hype yesterday. So much was created over the last few days by outside interests, so what actually goes on inside the room is probably a lot different.
"To be quite honest, I was glad Wayne and Mario went in there. There was probably some interaction because of the respect they have with the players. Those are guys who can sustain something.
"I heard Wayne say everything was amicable and they talked."
Sutter added NHL clubs were not being informed of the progress of yesterday's 6 1/2-hour meeting until it ended.
"Once those meetings started, nothing comes out of those meetings," he said. "What we're privy to is before and after."
So it's business as usual for Sutter.
"Once commissioner Gary Bettman announced the cancellation, we were totally prepared to move forward and start preparing for next season."