Despite the cancellation of the NHL Winter Classic on Friday, serving as just another negative in the ongoing malaise of the 2012 NHL lockout, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr scheduled a meeting between themselves for Saturday afternoon at an undisclosed location.
There had been reports, nothing to get optimistic and hopeful about, that Daly and Fehr had constructive phone conversations during the week. With what was still a looming Winter Classic cancellation, it pretty difficult to really take this in an optimistic fashion. Talk is cheap.
Talk may be cheap, but understanding is an extensive proposition, one that neither side has seemed to be willing to pony up for. A degree of understanding from the get-go of negotiations may have stopped a lockout from ever happening.
But the news of the moment - and I do mean moment - is that talks continue late on this Saturday night between Daly and Fehr (11 PM EDT as of this writing). There's no reason to get your hopes up over this, because we've been here before - like the week of October 18th when it looked like a great thaw between hardline owners and belligerent players was taking place.
But when you couple some leaked news from the past 24 hours, things get much more interesting with this late running meeting. Yesterday brought,rumors of ownerships willingness to make a grand cost concession in their "make whole" provision of their last offer to players. The "make whole" provision was, in effect, the way the NHL was to honor existing contracts with players. The problem in the league's offer had been for players themselves to fund the provision that honored existing contracts. Not ownership itself.
There is no reason to get your hopes up at this time, there's no reason to think that this won't end in the same eye-rolling frustration as the last few meetings that looked like there was movement. Without leaks and rumors coming out of that meeting, it's best to just wait for facts to come out from the sources themselves.
[Note by John Fontana, 11/04/12 12:35 AM EDT ] There has been no indication that talks have ceased at this late hour. Being as they are happening at an undisclosed location, we cannot know for sure until someone passes the news along to a member of the media. Aaron Ward from TSN was the last to tweet meetings were still ongoing.
[Note by John Fontana, 11/04/12 1:04 AM EST ] Daylight Savings Time is over, it would be 2 AM otherwise. There is still no news that the meeting has concluded for the night. I do not expect more than that (notification of a conclusion to the meeting) with tangible news will be reported in the morning or later in the day on Sunday.