The NHL owners and the NHL Players Association have reached a stalemate on the "core economic issues" central to a new collective bargaining agreement, and it's possible they'll find a few other things to disagree about Friday as negotiations are set to begin on "non-core economic" points of contention.
According to AP reports, via Steve Fehr, the list of possible discussion points includes "the pension plan, the medical plan, schedule rules, drug testing and the grievance procedure."
It's not a bad sign that the two sides are willing to meet to establish opening positions on other issues that will need to be discussed before a final agreement can be made, but it's not a great sign either. The core issue between them - that the owners want the players to earn less next year than the 1.87B they made last year - still remains a non-starter for the players.
Issues that are expected to be contentious among the "non-core" economic ones include contract limits on years, RFA age, and realignment.
Returning to the negotiating table to discuss anything took over three months after the 2004 lockout began.
Via Pro Hockey Talk, earlier this week a TSN panel comprised of Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger made their pessimism known, saying the entire season is "very much in peril."
Most feel that unless there is significant movement by either side fairly soon a period of more significant "digging in" could commence, and the 2012-2013 NHL season will likely go by the wayside.
Afternoon reading: Pierre LeBrun asks what NHL General Managers will be doing during the lockout.
"Right now, we're all going to be glorified scouts to a degree," veteran Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland told ESPN.com Wednesday. "All you can really do at this point is go watch games and evaluate players." [ESPN]
And instead of raking in the dough in the KHL (or playing in the NHL) it seems that number one draft pick Nail Yakupov will have to remain in North America to play for his junior team, the Sarnia Sting, who own his contract through 2012-2013. [ESPN]