Commissioner Gary Bettman's theatrics not withstanding, or the sycophantism from Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly for that matter, the NHL and NHL Players Association are closer to a deal than the league wants to admit.
At the same time, the league is further away from a deal, specifically out of spite for NHL Players Association Executive President Donald Fehr who is deemed in some circles as the true maestro behind the league's lingering labor dispute (to believe the nerve of that guy, pushing to get the best deal for the group he represents! Doesn't he realize only Jeremy Jacobs and Bettman are allowed to push for anything)....
But lets look at this from an optimistic viewpoint and go back to last week. Sides were close, we (bloggers such as myself, other hockey media) stayed up late with Tuesday's and Wednesday's talks between the league and the PA in New York City. What came from last Tuesday's talks was the imminence of a resolution to this grand malaise.
How imminent? NHL coaches breaking NHL by-laws and contacting players, telling them to be prepared to report to camp, or to return to North America... They were telling guys to be ready for a National Hockey League season, no matter how abbreviated it would be.
Then everything fell apart as we saw and heard on Thursday, and the brooding that commenced over the weekend that further stressed the bitterness and contempt between all parties involved... as well as the repeated notion these sides are so close it's not even funny. They're not going to throw away a resolution over subjects (contract length, CBA length) that can be compromised in the easiest of fashions (author note: I wouldn't put that past Bettman).
Greg Wyshynski - the great sage and imminent Puck Daddy - reported via Twitter on Tuesday morning that would support the notion that a return of the National Hockey League is imminent.
Hearing 2 other NHL teams have staff called back or on standby. That's 4 total. Again, could be precaution. Shit'll move fast after deal.— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) December 11, 2012
Take that with salt, because Bettman, Fehr, Daly, Jeremy Jacobs and the rest of the cast of characters tied to the 2012 NHL lockout have given you little reason to take it with anything else. Skepticism is the new norm... But as Wysh himself said, if this thing gets solved, things will move forward with speed.