UPDATE: 1:07 A.M. January 3, 2013
Metings are over for the night. but both sides expect to meet tomorrow.
Fehr would NOT say whether "disclaimer of interest" was filed; mediator was present today; expects to meet again THUR— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) January 3, 2013
Player source says pa did not file disclaimer. No official word from pa.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 3, 2013
Bettman:the process will be continuing tomorrow morning.FMCS mediator will be part of tomorrow's session.There is some progress.— David Alter (@DavidAlter590) January 3, 2013
END OF UPDATE
Here are some tweets on the negotiations from early this morning.
Has to be some late night horse-trading between league and union.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 3, 2013
Sure sign the disclaimer of interest was not filed: Donald Fehr is still representing the NHLPA in the meetings that are going on past 12am— Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes) January 3, 2013
END OF UPDATE
The NHL lockout appears to be nearing an end as both sides have come to agreement in principle to certain proponents of a new CBA. Could a tentative deal be in place by midnight?
Renaud Lavoie of RDS sent out a post in French, but a rough translation indicates that both sides have the same goal.
Owners and players have the same goal now: they absolutely want to reach an agreement before midnight tonight, so that the executive committee of the NHLPA decides to dissolve the union denial.
The threat is still important because it could slow down the negotiation process.
Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal added this tweet about the upcoming deadline.
In labor negotiations, deals don't get done until there's a deadline. Midnight Jan 2 deadline for NHLPA disclaimer has been in place 4 weeks— Liz Mullen (@SBJLizMullen) January 3, 2013
At the stroke of midnight, the window to file a disclaimer of interest would expire, and if both sides are as close as reports have indicated, there would be no logical reason to file.
From NHL player: "How they respond to our latest proposal will determine if we disclaim or not." Huge meeting tonight to say the least— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) January 2, 2013
Filing the official D.O.I. would probably break down all talks, and would lead to cancellation of a season, so meeting the midnight deadline as stated by Lavoie would be crucial.
Eric Macramalla, a TSN legal analyst, offered this update on the deadline to file a D.O.I., and how close the lockout is to ending.
The NHLPA will only file a disclaimer of interest if it believes the sides are not close to settlement. If Donald Fehr, the head of the NHLPA, concludes that there is still a significant gap between the sides and that settlement cannot be achieved in the short term, then expect the disclaimer to be filed today. For the NHLPA, the hope was that the threat of a disclaimer could act as a catalyst to getting a deal done on terms more favourable to the players. If that doesn't work, then the act of disclaiming interest and filing an antitrust action would be the next step in trying to get a deal done.
However, if the sides are close to a new deal, the NHLPA will not file the disclaimer. Ultimately, in a case like this, a disclaimer would likely extract some leverage in negotiations. If the sides are nearing a deal, the disclaimer would become unnecessary. As well, a disclaimer adds a layer of complexity to negotiations, and would just become a distraction if the sides are close.
Expect the NHLPA to treat the January 2 deadline as a now-or-never scenario.
Both Sides Have Agreement on Some Issues
With that in mind, the NHL and NHLPA have agreed in principle to parts of a new CBA that would focus on length of CBA, and the length of player contracts.
According to sources, the NHLPA has accepted the NHL's 10-year CBA term, though it has certain stipulations it has included as part of their acceptance, which the NHL has not yet agreed to.
One source told TFP the Players have also agreed on the NHL's proposed six-year free agent contract term limit (seven-years for those re-signing with their own teams), but have countered their 10 per cent variance.
The NHL and NHLPA have also agreed in principle to keep parts of the last CBA such as the entry level contract system and arbitration according to the TFP report.
This is beneficial news, because with the key issues now in place, the only chips left to fall are an agreement on pensions and a salary cap number.
Issues Still on Table
The NHL and NHLPA are expected to meet tonight in reference to the latest proposals on the table. The agenda of this meeting is expected to involve pensions and the salary cap.
Here are some updates from Darren Dreger and Greg Wyshynski on the pressing matters at the helm.
Mtngs resume tonight. Players made a presentation, countering leagues latest.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 2, 2013
Entering day, PAwanted NHL to share pension cost. Perhaps bigger issue: teams' ongoing liability to pay the pension after CBA expires.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 2, 2013
New Puck Daddy: NHL, NHLPA and their salary cap headache for 2013-14 yhoo.it/10PAcsn— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) January 2, 2013
The NHL and NHLPA are currently scheduled to meet at 8:00 in New York City. That gives the two sides three hours and 59 minutes to come close enough to a deal so the NHLPA doesn't disclaim interest.
The clock will be ticking and tensions will be high, but the end could be near for this lengthy lockout.
Stay with Bleacher Report for the latest updates on the lockout, and the meetings in NYC.