There was more talk about podiums and pizza than there was actual news, but the NHL and NHLPA continued their negotiations Wednesday on and off for nine hours. It was the second consecutive day of marathon talks, which has ignited more optimism in the hockey world than there has been this entire lockout.
In the wee hours following Wednesday’s meetings, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said, “[We] had good, candid dialogue. There continues to be some critical open issues.”
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Ron Hainsey, representing the NHLPA, also offered a brief statement: “We had a series of meetings today, very candid discussion, and we plan on meeting again tomorrow.”
The fact that neither side is saying anything more than a 10-second statement and that minimal details are being leaked is a good thing. The two sides are hoping to agree to a new CBA by Friday to start the season as soon as possible, although it is no guarantee it will happen.
There was a little bit of information leaked, however. Both sides reportedly exchanged proposals throughout the day. Helene St. James from the Detroit Free Press had a source tell her, “Deal isn’t imminent. Still hurdles to climb but made some strides in some major areas.”
Six owners and 18 eighteen players met face-to-face Tuesday, and the same group was involved in Wednesday’s talks. It is unknown whether Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr will join the discussions when the two sides reconvene Thursday afternoon.