The owners and players got back to the bargaining table this afternoon. Reports as of 11:45 pm Tuesday night say there is “cautious optimism” from both sides that a deal can be made to save the season. This is really the first time in a month or so that we've seen both the NHL and NHLPA get a positive feel for where they can go with this.
My sense is that both sides are finally speaking the same language. Both players and owners realize the urgency to avoid cancelling more games and to avoid cancelling the season all together for the 2nd time in 8 seasons. I think there’s a sense that the NHL may never fully recover from another season gone by the wayside.
Like I reported yesterday, I still think the NHL has a better offer to make to the players, and I still think the players are willing to bend a little bit more in some areas. This could possibly be what we’re seeing right now. Pittsburgh Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle appears to be having a huge impact on the positivity of today’s talks.
What’s even more interesting is that the Board of Governors (owners) are set to meet tomorrow. Will the 6 owners involved today attempt to persuade the rest to accept a deal that was formed out of tonight’s talks? Or will it be more of a uniting front against the players type of meeting? Gary Bettman is expected to address the media tomorrow at 1 pm so we’ll know more about the BoG meeting at that time.
Until then, I wouldn’t wash and press your Red Wings jersey just yet. Even though there may be optimism from this group, remember that it still takes 22 owners to approve the new deal before the players can hit the ice. And we’ve been down this road before. A few months ago we had 4 straight days of seemingly positive movement from both sides, only to be left disappointed.
Overall, we’re still far from getting a deal done. But the fact that it’s almost midnight and talks began at 2pm (include a dinner break) give some life back into the hope that we may in fact have a shortened NHL hockey season. Keep it to DSN for updates, and follow me on Twitter ( @JeffDeacs ) for the latest lockout news.
12:09 am UPDATE: Both sides will meet again tomorrow after a “constructive” day of talks. Steve Fehr said this might have been the best day so far. Both Bill Daly & Fehr jointly spoke after talks dismissed for the night, which is a great sign. Both say there is still much work to do. Both sides will meet again tomorrow morning before the Board of Governors meeting at 11 am. Stay tuned!