Sources say cautious optimism at NHL meeting
Multiple sources told ESPNNewYork.com that there appears to be cautious optimism from both the league and the union as a result of Tuesday's marathon session between the two sides.
NEW YORK -- Have the NHL and NHLPA finally gained some traction?
Multiple sources told ESPNNewYork.com there appears to be cautious optimism from both the league and the union as a result of Tuesday's approximately 10-hour session to try to reach a new collective bargaining agreement.
Although those sources indicate that it would be premature to deem it legitimate progress at this point, there was a general sense of hope emanating after the meeting, which ended just before midnight ET.
Just hours after ending a long day of talks that produced the greatest sense for optimism since the lockout began three months ago, the sides spoke early Wednesday and planned to talk again later in the day. Instead of meeting together however, each side held internal discussions. They did not hold a bargaining session because they did not want to rush through a meeting before the league's board of governors got together later Wednesday.
"I thought it was a constructive day; we had a good dialogue. In some ways, I'd say it might be the best day we've had, which isn't to paint too overly optimistic a picture," NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said Tuesday night. "There's still a lot of work to do and a lot to be done, but we will be back at it tomorrow morning."
The NHL and NHLPA, minus principal players commissioner Gary Bettman and Fehr, met at a midtown Manhattan hotel for multiple sessions, with both sides breaking from the large group several times to caucus with their respective parties.
During a recess for dinner, the NHLPA held a conference call with players, a source told ESPNNewYork.com, presumably to update them on the day's developments.
The two sides remained tight-lipped throughout the day, divulging few details to the media, but multiple sources told ESPNNewYork.com that Pittsburgh Penguins owner Ron Burkle was an influential voice on the ownership side.
Burkle was one of the new faces, along with Tampa Bay's Jeff Vinik, Winnipeg's Mark Chipman and Toronto's Larry Tannenbaum, joining Boston's Jeremy Jacobs and Calgary's Murray Edwards, in Tuesday's meeting.
Bettman had suggested the players- and owners-only meeting last week after an attempt to resolve the dispute through mediation failed.
The NHLPA accepted the invitation and brought along 18 players for the meeting. Daly and Steve Fehr were both present in the meeting as well.
Joining the mainstays such as Kevin Westgarth, George Parros and Ron Hainsey were superstar Sidney Crosby and other high-profile players such as Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards, Ryan Miller, Shane Doan, David Backes and Jonathan Toews.
"I appreciate the efforts of the players in particular. We had 18 players and six of our owners," Daly said. "I think everyone wants to get a deal done, so I think that's encouraging. We look forward to hopefully making more progress tomorrow."
The location of Wednesday's meeting has yet to be determined. Bettman was originally expected to address the media after the board of governors meeting at 1 p.m. ET Wednesday.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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