Most recent stories of NHL and NHLPA negotiations, or lack thereof, have been gloomy.
Few talks, abrupt ends to those that have taken place, and angry words from each side have been prevalent.
But on Saturday, something unusual happened: the two sides talked, and talked for a while. They talked until the early morning hours on Sunday, actually. And for the first time in weeks, theres actually some reason to be optimistic.
NHL commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr met at an undisclosed location on Saturday, and the two sides will reportedly meet again early this week. Daly and Fehr talked until after 1 a.m. Eastern time, according to various reports.
And get this: they agreed on something.
We had a series of meetings over the course of the day and had a good, frank discussion on the most important issues separating us, Daly told NHL.com.
I agree with what Bill said, Fehr said in a statement. Hopefully we can continue the dialogue, expand the group and make steady progress.
Agreeing they had a good, frank talk. Hey, for two sides who couldnt agree on who ended a negotiating session in August, thats definitely a positive.
Saturdays talks were the first since mid-October, when the two sides parted not so amicably. The NHL came with a proposal featuring a 50-50 split in hockey-related revenue, whatever its true definition may be. The players association came with three proposals, including one that went 50-50 in the first year as long as the league honored existing player contracts. Talks went south quick, as the league said the two were speaking different languages.
So Saturdays news was good news. And if it helps both sides to keep meeting at secret locations, by all means keep doing it. Tuck yourselves away in some tiki bar in Florida if need be. If taking all the rhetoric and the saidhe said out of the negotiations leads to this getting done quicker, hide away.
Its something. Its progress. And its a glimmer of hope in negotiations that have had very little.