After a long meeting between NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr on Saturday in which the "important issues" were addressed, the NHL and NHLPA are expected to continue their CBA talks in the near future.
Here are Daly's comments following his one-on-one talks with Fehr (via Tom Gulitti of The Record).
"We had a series of meetings over the course of the day and had a good, frank discussion on the most important issues separating us. We plan to meet again early in the week."
Daly and Fehr met in private this weekend at a secret location, where they would be away from the media.
In terms of undisclosed location where meeting took place, it was in a neutral city (not NY or Tor) and both Daly and S Fehr had to travel— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) November 4, 2012
This was a smart decision because for real progress to be made toward completing a new agreement, the two sides have to meet face-to-face and not play the PR game in the media after they are finished.
As for the next meeting, Chris Johnston of The Canadian Press has the latest information.
Details of next NHL-NHLPA meeting are still being finalized. Bill Daly is unsure if it will be another private session.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) November 4, 2012
It's encouraging that the meeting on Saturday included talks on several of the major issues that the two sides haven't been able to figure out thus far.
Even though there has been a lot of attention given to the split of hockey-related revenues (HRR)—and rightly so since it's the biggest issue that the two sides have been discussing throughout this entire process—topics such as player contracts and revenue sharing are also important in these labor talks.
Hopefully league commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr are present at the next meeting because that would be a good indication that there's progress being made.
There's still plenty of time for the two sides to make a deal and play a regular season schedule that includes anywhere from 60-70 games, but for that to happen, actual progress has to be made very soon.
Every day wasted is a lost opportunity to try to save the 2012-13 season.
The Saturday meeting isn't a reason to feel overly optimistic about the current situation, but the fact that the two sides met, addressed the core issues and want to continue their talks in the near future is a positive sign in this work stoppage.
After the next meeting between the league and its players, we will have a much better idea of how close the two sides are to reaching a new CBA.