NHL Lockout 2012: Weekend Talks Are Positive Sign Toward Resolution

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13:  Commissioner Gary Bettman of the National Hockey League speaks to the media at Crowne Plaza Times Square on September 13, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Are you an NHL fan looking for something, anything, to give you hope that there will actually be a season this year? Do you find yourself scouring Twitter for any update you can interpret in the most positive and optimistic way possible?

Well then, the talks between the players union and NHL this weekend must have you absolutely thrilled—even if the two sides probably remain miles apart in settling.

From the Associated Press (via The SportingNews):

The sides met for about four hours before finishing Saturday, and they agreed to meet again on Sunday. The agenda likely will include discussions on health and safety issues—a topic that made up a chunk of Friday's talks—and miscellaneous legal things, such as grievances, game tickets and other topics.

Clarifications as to what will fall under the umbrella of hockey-related revenue going forward in the next agreement dominated discussions Saturday. No concrete resolutions were made, and the topic could be revisited on Sunday.

The two sides haven't had negotiations over the key economic disputes in place, such as the owners' desire for the players to go from 57 percent of the revenue pie to less than 50 percent, so these meetings call for guarded optimism.

Or perhaps they are simply enough to displace any feelings of pessimism or, you know, desire to watch basketball that NHL fans may now be feeling. Really, any talks are a good thing at this point, minor issues or not.

And talks for three days in a row?

Why, I nearly smiled when I saw that.

Now, this doesn't mean we'll suddenly get a resolution. Unlike in the NFL, NHL players have plenty of alternate leagues where they can earn a wage. And we all know that, given past negotiations, Gary Bettman and the owners are hardly afraid to cancel a season. 

But at least the "I won't budge so we're not talking anymore!" stage hasn't come just yet. At least for now, both sides are willing to talk, even about the little stuff. 

Sure, it's a small shred of hope—it's hard to imagine at least a part of the season won't be lost—but I'll take whatever shreds of hope I can get, and I know you will too.

So we're going to file this away as "Extremely guarded optimism, but let's all step away from the ledge for the moment." (I have a complicated filing cabinet.) Until they start talking about the big stuff, I'll reserve any feelings of hope, joy or happiness. 

But until they stop talking, I'll reserve the doom and gloom too.


Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets are on point like Geno Smith.

Follow TRappaRT on Twitter