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2012 NHL Lockout: Wednesday Talks Broach "Make Whole" Provision, Will Continue Thursday

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Actual Press Release: "The NHLPA and the NHL met today to discuss many of the key issues. We look forward to resuming talks tomorrow."

Brad Gardner

A second consecutive marathon session in an undisclosed New York location saw the main attraction, the "Make Whole" provision, finally work its way into discussions between the NHL and the Players' Association Wednesday.

With no official word of real agreements made or progress the hockey world has contented itself to believe that the lengthy talks can be nothing but an encouraging sign. They'll continue tomorrow as revenue sharing, core economics and player contract issues continue to get attention as the two sides look for a way forward.

Meanwhile the dueling NHL/NHLPA shortest-press-release-ever competition reached new levels of brevity with Don Fehr's statement to the media: "The NHLPA and the NHL met today to discuss many of the key issues. We look forward to resuming talks tomorrow."

Billy Daly reiterated what has been said earlier in the week, adding "Meetings are scheduled to resume tomorrow. We do not intend to comment on the substance or subject matter of today's negotiations."

The media, of course, is more than happy to comment on the substance and the word out there is that revenue sharing has taken up the majority of the ample meeting time held this week. It's a subject near and dear to the players' hearts and it's pushed back the "make whole" provision discussion substantially, and could do so again tomorrow.

Player contract issues and revenue sharing could be getting worked out ahead of the truly sticking subject of how to honor existing player contracts, and how quickly to get to a 50/50 split. The subject has not, reportedly, been the focal point of talks and still looms as a potential derailment this week. Conversely, real progress on the matter could herald the end of the lockout. No one knows at this point and it could go either way.

Tomorrow's tentatively scheduled talks will mark the third day in a row and fourth day in the last six face-to-face meetings have been held.

RDS reports that Steve Fehr and Bill Daly will have a phone conversation in the morning to determine Thursday's schedule, and then the stopwatches will begin anew as everyone continues to hope for lengthy talks followed by silence to the media.

If that continues, we will all know that things are indeed getting very serious.

Of course, at some point someone is going to have to talk about substantive progress, if it exists. Cross your fingers for a newsy weekend if the "Make Whole" provision doesn't stop things down entirely tomorrow and Friday.