September 12, 2012; New York, NY, USA; NHLPA executive director Don Fehr during a press conference at the 2012 NHLPA summer player meetings at the Marriott Marquis. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE

NHL and Players Association Meet, Progress Made

Don Fehr, Head of the NHLPA
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE

The NHL and the NHLPA met for 5 hours Thursday and plan to meet again on Friday. Both side were tight lipped about the specifics of the discussion but said they did center on the main issues separating the two from coming to an agreement on a new CBA. Both Bettman and his minions will be meeting tonight as will Fehr and his team before resuming negotiations Friday. The players union reportedly made two offers to the NHL this week, at this point though it is not clear on how the NHL reacted. Both sides have been quiet over the last few days as talks have seemed to intensify. The NHL even requested meetings in an undisclosed location to avoid any interference. The union agreed, but media found the  location, at the  Manhattan law firm Proskauer Rose. This is the group of attorneys that represents the NHL. The public relations battle  has grown quiet as of late, possibly a signal the some significant progress is being made in the efforts to end the lockout. So far more than 325 games along with the Winter Classic have been canceled. More cancellations are sure to come soon and the possibility of losing the entire season looms if a deal is not reached in the near future. The NHLPA says seven players attended Thursday’s session: David Backes, Chris Campoli, Mathieu Darche, Ron Hainsey, Johan Hedberg, Manny Malhotra and Kevin Westgarth. NHL Commissioner Bettman was quoted as saying ,”We have work to do and my hope is that we can achieve the goal of getting a long-term, fair agreement in place as quickly as possible so we can play hockey.” While their is still a lot of work to be done before the NHL gets back to the business of playing hockey, (in front of the fans they have left) this is progress. The two sides are finally negotiating, exchanging ideas and offers, and replying in kind. This is where the negotiations should have been two months ago. Instead we had to listen to a bunch of posturing, ultimatums and press releases played out in public like a couple of schoolyard bullies facing each other down. Neither was willing to show anything that could be construed as a weakness or concession. Gone Puck Wild will stay on top of any development in the CBA negotiations as they happen.

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