Last night we reported that talks between the NHL owners and players went so well that not only was the first meeting very long and productive but they also met again later in the night. The same group of guys are expected to meet again this morning.
There were 18 players involved in yesterday’s talks and the players present at the meeting were Craig Adams, David Backes, Michael Cammalleri, Sidney Crosby, BJ Crombeen, Mathieu Darche, Shane Doan, Ron Hainsey, Shawn Horcoff, Jamal Mayers, Manny Malhotra, Andy McDonald, Ryan Miller, George Parros, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis, Jonathan Toews and Kevin Westgarth. As you can see there are some superstars on this list, some average players and some role players. In my opinion the NHLPA did a great job in ensuring every kind of player was represented in the meeting.
Those players spent the afternoon and evening in serious collective bargaining agreement talks with six different owners and those owners were Jeremy Jacobs of the Boston Bruins, Ronald Burkle of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Mark Chipman of the Winnipeg Jets, Jeffery Vinik of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Murray Edwards of the Calgary Flames and Larry Tanenbaum of the Toronto Maple Leafs
After the two sides met, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr held a press conference together (a first and a positive sign within itself) and both expressed a cautious optimism. It appears both sides are finally willing to make a deal and actually negotiate while working towards a new CBA and potentially ending the lockout.
According to the Associated Press, this is what the NHLPA’s Steve Fehr had to say, “We had a long day. We thought it was a constructive day. We had a good dialogue. In some ways I’d say it might be the best day we’ve had, which isn’t too overly optimistic of a picture. There is still a lot of work to do and a lot to be done. We will be back at it tomorrow morning.”
The NHL’s Bill Daly followed that up with, “I appreciate the efforts of the players. Everybody is working hard. I think everybody wants to get a deal done, so that’s encouraging. We look forward to hopefully making more progress tomorrow. Hopefully, we’ll have more to update you on tomorrow. We are going forward with our board meeting. Hopefully be back at it after that, as well.”
Also happening today, the NHL Board of Governors is expected to convene followed by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman holding a press conference tentatively scheduled for 1PM EST today. Hopefully we’ll get some more news about the negotiations and where this thing is headed. It appears as though it will be another busy day for the NHL.
Finally for us fans, it seems as though some good will (hey, it is the Holiday season) has entered the negotiating room and both sides appear to be willing to do what it takes to end the lockout and possibly save the 2012-13 NHL season. I should note that many in the media believe a 50-60 game season is within reach if the two sides can strike a deal by the weekend.
Lets all just hope the NHL and NHLPA are serious this time and not once again getting our hopes up so they can eventually tell us talks have stalled again and things look bleak.