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

One Step Forward or Two Steps Back? CBA Negotiations Continue On

The National Hockey League and the National Hockley League Players’ Association will meet on Thursday to further negotiations for the new Collective Bargaining Agreement at an Undisclosed Place in New York City.

Both sides met for a seven hour negotiating session on Tuesday, followed by another six hours on Wednesday.

Did they make any progress? Here’s the thing…we don’t know. Both sides are being incredibly cryptic about the discussions thus far.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said on Wednesday,

The National Hockey League’s negotiating committee met with representatives of the National Hockey League Players’ Association for approximately 5-1/2 hours today. Meetings are scheduled to resume [Thursday]. We do not intend to comment on the substance or subject matter of today’s negotiations.”

NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr held the line in terms of radio silence.

“The NHLPA and the NHL met today to discuss many of the key issues. We look forward to resuming talks [Thursday].”

Thursday will be the third day in a row that both sides have sat at the table together. This is also the fourth day in the past six that representatives from both sides have met face-to-face, starting with a private one-on-one meeting on Saturday between Deputy Commissioner and NHLPA Special Counsel Steve Fehr.

Prior to Saturday’s meeting, the two side had not sat down together since October 18th.

So what does this all mean? Unfortunately, your guess is as good as mine. With both sides being mum on the details of their discussions, we are left in the same place we were a few days ago; with our hands up in the air, and our hearts on the ground awaiting the overwhelming weight of a lost hockey season bearing down.

On the other side, this could be a good thing. Maybe, just maybe, these talks have been productive, and they are making progress. Possibly, they have found a way to “move forward” on the hot button issue of honoring players’ existing contracts.

For now, we will wait diligently as the two sides hammer away at this cumbersome Collective Bargaining Agreement. Until otherwise informed, I will choose to see these newfound discussions as a light at the end of this seemingly never-ending tunnel. Hopefully, we are not disappointed once again.

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