Briefly, as a rainy weekend in Texas is upon us...
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr met once more for a private meeting on Saturday, as the NHL and NHLPA continued their ongoing negotiations following Friday's progress. Fehr and Bettman had met privately on Friday as well, getting together for 30 minutes on Saturday morning to discuss the just how both sides are proceeding forward and what is needed to reach an agreement.
There is a growing feeling that this lockout is not going to be nearly as long as people have feared, that the hard stances taken by the league and the players have been mere negotiating tools and that -- hopefully -- both sides understand that the quicker a deal is reached and the season gets underway the better the league will be off for it. The players taking off for Europe, the league taking a hard line on economics; these are all methods being used to attempt to gain as much leverage as possible.
Fehr and Bettman meeting privately, while progress is being made on non-economic issues this weekend, can only be seen as a good sign. It shows that there is at least a willingness to talk, to try and figure out the path that must be taken for a resolution to be found.
"In general we're trying to discuss how do we find a way to make an agreement," Fehr said today following his meeting with Bettman, according to Ian Mendes.
Per Michael Grange, it also appears that a new proposal from either side will not be made this weekend. Despite the optimism coming from the actual talks, we have still not seen any significant movement from the players or the owners on the economic fundamentals of the negotiations. Fehr apparently stated that he didn't see the "concessions" by the NHL just prior to the deadline as meaningful, and now once again we wait for someone to make the first move.
But at least they are talking.
The topic today at the actual negotiations apparently concern the definition of Hockey Related Revenue, which doesn't mean they'll discuss the actual splitting of HRR. While the actual revenue split in the issue at hand, the definition of HRR has also been highly contested and coming to an agreement in how it is defined could go a long way toward one side making the next formal proposal.
There have not been any regular season games canceled as of yet, although most are expected the first wave of cancellations to come as early as Monday if an agreement in principle is not reached. While it's good to see actual negotiations in progress, and middle ground being reached on specific issues, there will not be any true progress made until one side makes the decision to blink first and put forth the next proposal.
One would hope that this weekend will prove to have a positive effect on just when that next proposal will come.