How are the ongoing CBA negoations between the NHL and NHLPA going?
Well, that depends on how optimistic you are. Glass-half-full people will be glad the two sides have had three long days of meetings with a fourth upcoming while glass-half-empty people will be frustrated that the two sides still seem to be struggling to find common ground.
No one was saying much Thursday afternoon after the two sides wrapped for the day. It was the third consecutive day they met at a "secret location" (otherwise known as a lawyer's office) In New York City to try and reach a new collective bargaining agreement. The only conclusive thing seemed to be that the sides would meet again tomorrow.
The fact that meetings will continue is a relief after some scary moments from hockey fans Thursday afternoon. Several NHL reporters who have sources in the meetings reported that things were not going well after the NHL had a chance to look at a pair of PA proposals, and the collective anxiety on Twitter began to skyrocket.
If you're following others, you now know why I tweeted Wed. "didn't end well" @ NHL/NHLPA mtg. PA made player-share proposal NHL didn't like— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) November 8, 2012
But the NHL and PA continued to talk further into the afternoon, and while NHLPA head Donald Fehr met with the media after the session, not much was revealed. Essentially, the sides confirmed they would continue meetings tomorrow.
Amid speculation that the NHL was prepared to walk away from the table if today didn't go well, a few other reports surfaced that the NHL did indeed respond to the most recent NHLPA proposals.
#CBA NHL DID respond to PA's two proposals. And the two sides are meeting again tmrw. Interpret as you wish— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) November 8, 2012
Both Fehr and Bettman were very tight lipped in brief comments to the media afterward. Bettman provided the only real quotable line with this revealing gem:
Gary Bettman says there's "still a lot of work to do."— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) November 8, 2012
Fehr's most quotable line was something along the lines of it's better to be meeting than not talking. So while there might not be complete radio silence like there was earlier this week, neither side is saying anything particularly interesting at this point.
What does this all mean? It's really anybody's guess at this point. Obviously, continuing to negotiate is a good first step, and if any meaningful concessions or compromises have been made, that would be even better.
Honestly, this is going to continue to be a roller coaster ride. I don't expect any side to admit things are going well until the ink is dry on the document. I think both sides are incredibly leery of losing any potential leverage, and I think both feel like the negotiations playing out in the media have started to hurt more than help their cases.
So the beat goes on for at least another day. Who needed a nice stress-free Friday, anyway?