Still without a counteroffer and with less than six weeks before the NHL's current CBA expires, NHL Players' Association director Donald Fehr isn't worried, saying that's still sufficient time to get a deal done, according to ESPN:
For that to happen, both parties need to stay committed to negotiations and should not resort to "short-circuiting the process," Fehr said, when asked about the potential of a lockout.
The former MLBPA head met with about roughly 40 NHL players in Barcelona this past week to keep them updated on the proceedings.
While not having a timetable on presenting a counteroffer because the union is still reviewing nearly 76,000 pages of financial information the NHL provided last week, Fehr is still hopeful of striking a deal sooner rather than later.
Negotiations resume on Tuesday in New York City, according to Rusty Miller of The Seattle Times, with Fehr expected back at the table by Thursday.
The current CBA expires September 15.
One point Miller does bring up in his article is the NHLPA's willingness to play under the current CBA if a deal isn't struck on time, eliminating the possibility of missing games:
Fehr already has proposed having talks continue beyond the deadline and having the season open without disruption under the current system.
This would be the perfect scenario for not only both parties, but for the sport of hockey itself. Still allowing for games to be played while a deal is worked on eliminates the horrors of what another lockout would create.
However, there's no indication that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman or league owners would agree to playing games under the current CBA until a new deal is agreed upon.
If the owners' No. 1 priority is to continue creating long-term sustainability and build upon the sport's success since the 04-05 lockout, there's no reason for them not to agree to play games until striking a new deal.