Stop me if you've heard this one before, but the NHL and NHLPA are making another effort at finding some common ground of the key issues in the collective bargaining agreement negotiations.
The two sides met briefly Monday evening in New York City to discuss the two issues that have most divided them in recent weeks - player contracting rights and core economic issues. The meeting lasted a little less than two hours, and there may be more later this week.
That "may be" status of future meetings is dependent on the NHLPA coming to the table with a new proposal, according to Bill Daly.
"It's our position (that) we've made a couple comprehensive proposals in a row. We'd like to know where they are on all the issues and we asked them to think about putting together a comprehensive proposal for us to consider," Daly said.
Depending on how long it takes the PA to put together a proposal, the sides may not meet again until Wednesday with the PA using today to flesh out the ideas it wants to present to the league.
Is this just another trip on the roller coaster with no end yet in site? Possibly, but the active negotiations are, again, better than both sides sitting on their respective sides of the Great Lakes and griping about each other, which has been happening enough recently.
Also in today's links, the one-year anniversary of Tom Gaglardi's ownership of the Dallas Stars, Brett Ritchie continues his awesome run and how not to make things better when called for checking in a non-checking league.
- The purchase of the Stars by Tom Gaglardi from the failing Tom Hicks sports empire seems both so recent and so long ago. It probably could have been a better year for the new owner, what with the fade down the stretch and the ongoing lockout, but assuming the ongoing march toward hockey oblivion gets diverted somehow, Gaglardi has big plans for the future as detailed in this paywalled article. [DallasNews.com]
- Brett Ritchie scored again (and again and again) for the Niagara IceDogs? Surely you jest. [The Hockey Writers]
- Scott Conway of the Texas Tornado hasn't been scoring at quite the prolific pace of Ritchie, but this again, who has? Conway's efforts last week in the NAHL were enough to earn him South Division Star of the Week. [NAHL.com]
- This is a nice behind-the-scenes profile of Stars video coach Kelly Forbes, though I personally could have done without the dig at "hockey isn't missed in non-traditional markets!" at the end. It really has nothing to do with an otherwise engaging look at a guy you don't hear a lot about. [Canada.com]
- One of the more intriguing bits from the Tom Gaglardi story above was the bit on the team studying what it would take to move the practice arena, currently in Frisco, downtown. Mike Heika expands a bit on the topic in this blog post. [DallasNews.com]
- The incomparable Elliotte Friedman offers only 20 thoughts this week, but they're as good as 30 from most other reporters. [CBC.ca]
- Next up on the cancellation docket, besides more games? The All-Star game in Columbus. [Puck-Rakers Blog]
- I'm usually a complete fan of everything Ellen Etchingham writes for Backhand Shelf, but I'm not sure I'm in total agreement with her on how men view women who play hockey (though we're both just guessing based on our experiences). I do think it is informed by geography though. I've only played in places where you're almost forced to play co-ed because of a small group of adult, entry-level players while in a place like Toronto, it's likely a much larger and much more internally segregated group. [Backhand Shelf]
- The level of public acrimony between the sides has been on the rise recently, from the owners trying to discredit Donald Fehr to Kris Versteeg's brilliant decision to call Gary Bettman and Bill Daly "cancers" in a public forum. And then, well, there's these hats. [Puck Daddy]
- Full disclosure: I know the, um, slightly angry rec-league player featured in this laugh-out-loud moment, and I know this happened several years ago. He's a nice guy but, as you can see in this, has a temper and sometimes neglects to check out where the end of the bench is located. Adult language warning, but the end is worth it. Hopefully it puts you into a good mood heading into the holidays at the end of the week.