Tuesday was one of the first really good days of the NHL lockout as the league and NHLPA met for most of the afternoon and evening on Tuesday and made progress, but there are still several steps to go through before the players return to the ice.
Details of what's being said in these meetings have been hard to come by, which is probably a good thing. It shows that both sides are committed to getting a deal done.
Let's look at what the experts are saying about the latest CBA developments.
NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr had some interesting comments following the conclusion of Tuesday's meetings (via Dan Rosen of NHL.com):
Steve Fehr: "We had a good dialogue. In some ways I'd say it might be the best day we've had."— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) December 5, 2012
Whenever you hear comments like "best day," it's hard not to get excited. Hopefully the two sides have more good days as they continue to talk this week.
James Duthie of TSN explains when the two sides will start talking again on Wednesday.
No meetings this morning. Owners on way to BOG meetings.Meeting with PA expected to continue later today.— james duthie (@tsnjamesduthie) December 5, 2012
The NHL and NHLPA have to be willing to give-and-take on certain issues for a deal to get done. The following tweet from Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet.ca gives us some hope that each side is willing to really negotiate.
Could we see a full CBA offer from one, or both sides on Wednesday? Kypreos explains:
Who were the influential people in Tuesday's meetings? The Pittsburgh Penguins, according to John Shannon of Sportsnet.ca, appear to have played an important role on both sides of the bargaining table.
Hearing that Ron Burkle has been voice of reason today. Obviously, with Crosby in room it creates a interesting dynamic.— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) December 5, 2012
Couldn't help but notice Crosby's agent Pat Brisson is in hotel, along with Pens co-owner Mario Lemieux. Could Pgh be building a bridge?— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) December 5, 2012
Crosby and Burkle were one of the many owner/player combinations in the latest CBA meetings, but at the moment, it seems that these two men are making a significant effort to save the season. Expect them to be important figures in the negotiations for the remainder of the lockout.
USA Today NHL writer Kevin Allen seems to be a bit more hopeful than he has been recently about the chances of the 2012-13 being played in some form.
Based on a couple of emails, I'm upgrading my status from hopeful to optimistic that the NHL management-labor fight will be settled.— Kevin Allen (@ByKevinAllen) December 5, 2012
It's likely that many fans are feeling better about this season after hearing about the progress that resulted from Tuesday's meetings.
As fans start to get excited about a new CBA possibly being reached soon, TSN's Bob McKenzie makes a great point about previous failures from the league when optimism was present during labor disputes.
There is cautious optimism on both sides but history (1994-95 and 2004-05) reminds us how quickly progress can be derailed. But a good day.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) December 5, 2012
Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press brings up one of the most important things to watch for on Wednesday.
If the small-market teams that he lists above don't like what the league told the players, or what was offered to the union, we could have a serious problem. This is the most important Board of Governors meeting in quite some time.
Will the league's strategy change when other owners are told what kind of progress has been made, and will there be enough moderates who stand up and express their desire to continue negotiating and get a deal done soon? We might have the answers to these questions sooner rather than later.