Perhaps you were one of several fans who I crossed last night on Twitter who were still up until the wee small hours of Sunday morning, waiting for the word that the ongoing meeting between the NHL and NHLPA had concluded. Some fans I was talking to at that time were expecting something tangible when things concluded.
By tangible, I mean verification that progress had been made in talks, some type of discussion directly to the media.
So many hours after this writer called it quits to his waiting game of confirmation the meeting had ended, the news that can be confirmed from yesterday's meeting between Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA Special Counsel Steve Fehr is... Not much.
The meeting took place at a neutral site - not New York where the NHL has its offices, not in Toronto where the NHLPA is headquartered. The NHL issued a statement this morning that was tweeted by Bob McKenzie of TSN:
"We had a series of meetings over the course of the day and had a good, frank discussion on the most important issues separating us...— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 4, 2012
"... We plan to meet again early in the week."— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 4, 2012
It's ambiguous, that alone should leave everyone skeptical. Add the fact these are not the primary players, but the secondary men in this negotiation and you should be increasingly skeptical.
Why? Because the track record so far for Commissioner Gary Bettman in these negotiations is the hard-line stance of no-no-no, while NHLPA Executive President Donald M. Fehr's stance has been attrition. Whatever progress that happened behind closed doors on Saturday night could very easily be curtailed by either of those primary players in this ongoing collective bargaining game that has cost us two months of the NHL season and the 2013 Winter Classic.