As talks continued between the NHL and NHLPA Wednesday night (and into Thursday morning), the biggest news that emerged from the negotiations was that the NHLPA’s midnight deadline to file a disclaimer of interest came and went with no activity occurring. In fact the NHLPA made no mention to the NHL of that possibility in last night’s meetings.
“The parties moved closer together on some issues. There is still a ways to go if an agreement can be reached,” NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr told media at the NHL’s New York offices. “If you have a river to cross, you got to either build a bridge or do something else.”
Wednesday marked the third straight day of face-to-face negotiations and counter proposals in New York City. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed they will meet again Thursday morning, the 110th day of the lockout, and for a second straight day a mediator will be involved.
“I’m not going to get into the details,” Bettman said. “We are apart on a number of issues. But as long as the process continues, I am hopeful.”
Progress has been made in this week’s negotiations, with both the NHL and NHLPA making concessions in an effort to salvage a 48-game season. However, a lot of work is left to be done. Remaining hot-button issues include pensions and the 2013-14 salary cap.
“The pension plan is a very complicated issue, with a number of variables and a number of issues that have to be addressed by people who carry the title of actuary or pension lawyer,” Bettman said. “That’s something that we understand is important to players.”
The deadline to salvage a season, according to reports, is Jan. 11. The latest the season could start is Jan. 19, according to the NHL. A disclaimer of interest from the NHLPA remains a possibility.