The NHL lockout isn't going to end without the owners or the players making a new proposal in the near future to jump start the negotiations.
With the four most important people in these labor negotiations meeting in New York on Wednesday (via Pierre LeBrun of TSN), hockey fans hope that this get-together will result in one side making a proposal, or at least getting closer to making one.
Big Four - Bettman, D Fehr, Daly, S Fehr - meeting Wednesday in separate meeting from main bargaining session. Reprise of Friday meeting— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) October 9, 2012
LeBrun summarized about Friday's meeting between Bettman, Daly, and the Fehr's with this tweet.
In short, both sides expressing to each other that it's time to compromise— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) October 5, 2012
This is the kind of encouraging news fans want to hear, because a compromise between the two sides is the only way that a new CBA will get done in time to save the 2012-13 season, but there won't any real optimism until a new proposal is made for the first time since the lockout commenced.
daly on NHLPA:“We have suggested that a proposal — any proposal — would at least have the potential of moving the negotiation ..— Kevin McGran (@kevin_mcgran) October 10, 2012
McGran (@kevin_mcgran) October 10, 2012
Daly can ask the players for a new offer to make it seem like the NHLPA is the side unwilling to move these labor talks forward, but the reason that Fehr and the players haven't made a new proposal yet is probably because unless a new offer includes significant concessions, it's unlikely that both parties will begin some real negotiations.
The chances that we see an actual proposal presented from the players over the next few days aren't good because these meetings won't be focused on the core economic issues, and will instead be centered around several secondary issues.
Improved ice conditions on the list of things the NHLPA wants the NHL to address.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) October 10, 2012
It's a little frustrating that these secondary issues haven't already been finalized yet because the longer it takes to agree on these topics, the longer it will take for the owners and players to finally begin talking about the economic issues that really matter.
Which side should make the next proposal?
The most important part of this week's talks is the meeting between Bettman, Daly and the Fehr brothers. If these four men can figure out some different ways to compromise, we may get closer to the NHLPA making a proposal that will result in some real negotiating taking place.
Since the NHL was supposed to begin the 2012-13 season on Thursday night, it would be a good PR move for both sides to give hockey fans reasons to be optimistic that the players will be back on the ice soon.
For that to happen, the league and its players must be willing to work with each other and find ways to compromise.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. He was also the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Boston. Follow him on Twitter.