Reports this mornings are that the players and owners met again for a short while, but separated so the owners could attend their 11a.m. Board of Governor’s meeting. They plan to reconvene after, and could work well into the night again.
I’ve been perusing the hockey webz pretty aggressively today, so I thought I’d compile some of the most relevant posts on the recent advances in the CBA talks.
* Penguins’ Crosby, Burkle take charge in NHL talks (Elliotte Friedman on how progress has come about from behind the scenes)
Overshadowed by the other news from yesterday was this question: If these talks continue the positive momentum, are Bettman and Fehr out of the picture for good?
* Will disgruntled NHL owners stand up to Gary Bettman over length of lockout? (Bruce Garrioch on Bettman’s future post-lockout)
“I would think the owners who haven’t said anything are going to finally have their say after they get updated on where the discussions are at because nobody is happy where this is at,” said a league insider Tuesday. “Most certainly, (Bettman) has his allies, but if one owner who isn’t happy with the fact that the business is being damaged by this lockout stands up, then I think you could see a group of owners stand up to have their say.
“Nobody wants the league to give the players everything they want, but not everybody is prepared to lose the season because they’re concerned with how the business is going to recover from this, especially in the United States.”
* Why did it take so long for meaningful NHL lockout talks? (George Johnson on why it took so long to get here)
If one night of serious discussion with the right people involved is what was needed to trigger meaningful dialogue, both sides should be ashamed — or at least, more ashamed — at the lost prestige, the lost revenue, the lost loyalty.
* Darren Dreger’s thoughts:
As we discussed on TSN last night. New faces help, but progress in negotiations is more based on NHL’s flex on contractual rights.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) December 5, 2012
I’m still a tad skeptical even though all involved yest carefully characterize the day as a very good day. Need more good days to close.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) December 5, 2012
* NHL Lockout 2012: The end nears (Adrian Dater on what his sources are telling him)
After my texts and calls tonight? I’m much more confident a season will happen. Of course, as I lamented in the cited earlier blog, nobody ever wants to go on the record anymore. I talked to some very high-level NHL people tonight and the unanimous sentiment was “It looks like we’ll have a season after all.”
* NHL talks lurch on (Larry Brooks on what sacrifices need to be made)
It is believed the parties were attempting to determine each side’s bottom line for making a deal that would end Owners’ Lockout III and save the season.
The owners are believed to have moved off at least some of the restrictive contract system demands that the league had previously represented as non-negotiable. But it’s not known how far they moved in that area or whether they were willing to increase their “make-whole” offer.
* Crosby, Penguins owners push to save NHL season (Rob Rossi on the behind the scenes work by Crosby, Burkle and Lemieux):
Over the past few weeks, Crosby, Burkle and Lemieux have privately discussed plans to bridge the gap between players and owners. The sources said all three had grown frustrated with the lack of progress.
* An escape from negativity (Jesse Spector on what went down last night)
Bettman and Fehr have drawn the greatest amount of bile from fans and their collective-bargaining opposition, but their step back from the negotiating table was not the only reason for progress being made. With the NHL owners meeting in Manhattan on Wednesday, the time was right to get down to business. Really, though, the time has been right for a long time.
* Crosby’s Big Play (Michael Grange with more on Sid’s involvement)
New York – Sidney Crosby saved hockey before he’d ever played a day in the NHL. He was Sid the Kid, the prodigy from Cole Harbour, NS who had been tapped by the Great One to be the next one.
* Reason for optimism (John Shannon on “cautious optimism,” today’s phrase that pays)
No one stormed out. No one pouted in front of the TV cameras. So when Steve Fehr and Bill Daly, jointly, announced there was cautious optimism and that talks were “constructive” and meetings were going to continue Wednesday morning, it was hard not to be optimistic. But there is a long way to go. There has to be a long way to go, because otherwise we should have had a new CBA last August.
* Lockout optimism? (Greg Wyshynski on the latest developments)
True, but it’s clear both sides are now engaged and working hard to find a deal. The NHLPA has decertification looming. The owners wanted this thing done by now, and may hold Bettman accountable in their meeting on Wednesday.
The optimism is cautious, for sure; but not unwarranted.