While the NHL and the NHLPA have not held formal CBA talks since the week of Sept. 10, league commissioner Gary Bettman, deputy commissioner Bill Daly, and NHLPA leader Donald Fehr and his brother Steve all met at the NHL Alumni dinner on Monday night, according to Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly.
Sure, the fact that the four most important people in this process met is encouraging, but there wasn't a lot for hockey fans to get excited about.
Wednesday was a busy day for both sides. According to Chris Johnston of the Canadian Press, Steve Fehr and Daly met on Monday to discuss last year's hockey-related revenues.
Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr are both sitting out the NHL's HRR meeting today. Bill Daly and Steve Fehr in attendance.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 24, 2012
Then Daly spoke to reporters, where he made it clear that the players need to make the next move in the labor negotiations:
Bill Daly says the league is waiting for the NHLPA to come forward with another proposal for CBA talks to resume.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 24, 2012
Even if the league is waiting for the players to make the next offer, there's no point for the NHLPA to make one if the owners aren't going to work with anything less than more player reductions that were in the most recent proposals.
The league can try to blame the slow pace of the talks on the players, but it's unlikely that the talks will go anywhere until the players present a proposal that is far closer to what the owners want.
Daly also said something that most NHL fans probably aren't willing to believe:
Bill Daly says NHL remains "100 per cent committed" to not missing regular-season games.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 24, 2012
With just 16 days left until the Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators open up the regular season, both sides really need to pick up the pace and start talking again before it's too late.
The meeting on Monday night was a good sign, but until they get back to the bargaining table and negotiate, fans have no reason to believe the NHL will be open for business in October.
The clock is ticking, and it doesn't look like the Wachovia Center or the Bell Centre will host the first games of the new season.
If no new progress is made this week, expect the remaining preseason games in October to be cancelled, which would likely be followed soon after by the cancellation of regular-season games.