The seven-hour chat between the NHL and NHLPA in New York City on Tuesday has led to a few things. Its led to talks today, which also went several hours. Its led to, we can assume, some headway. And its led to players being optimistic that there could be an end in sight to the lockout.
The league and players association had lengthy talks for the second consecutive day, and various outlets are reporting the two sides will continue talks on Thursday as the lockout nears two full months.
Tuesday marked the first time the two sides met for true negotiations since mid-October. While neither side would divulge any details, the fact that theyre talking that long hopefully means progress is being made.
I dont know how you can sit together that long and not make progress, Blackhawks forward Jamal Mayers said following Wednesdays practice. Its hard to speculate, but Im an eternal optimist. So Im going to think its a positive. Hopefully theyre making some common ground and hopefully the leagues come to the table ready to negotiate.
The two sides got off to a late-afternoon start on Wednesday and finished talks a little after 9 p.m. EST. Revenue sharing and the make whole provision were reportedly part of the discussion.
Each side made a statement following Wednesdays talks. League deputy commissioner Bill Daly said meetings were scheduled for tomorrow, but we do not intend to comment on the substance or subject matter of todays negotiations.
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehrs statement was also succinct: The NHLPA and the NHL met today to discuss many of the key issues. We look forward to resuming talks tomorrow.
With hours worth of talks over two consecutive days, players are optimistic.
When theyre in the room for a long time youre hoping its good, that theyre getting things done, said Dave Bolland. Fingers crossed, but you hope everythings going well.
And after so many instances where talks with each other were short and rants to the media were long, the trend has reversed. The league and players association have not held post-talk media sessions either day, and have kept details of discussions quiet. But in this case, the silence could be golden.
It hasnt worked the other way, so hopefully this approach yields more success, Mayers said.
Nearly two months worth of games has already been canceled, as has the Winter Classic. Perhaps this will be the end of the cancellations and the start of real progress toward a new collective bargaining agreement.
I know Im itching to get back and so are a lot of guys, Mayers said. Weve done some damage to the game already. Hopefully we can minimize it and get back to playing as soon as possible.