The NHL and NHLPA have patched things up and are continuing to push toward a new CBA with deadlines surrounding them.
After two days of separate meetings with federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly made their way to the players New York City hotel on Saturday afternoon for the first face-to-face meeting since Thursday.
Beckenbaughs work on Friday and Saturday was crucial in getting the two parties close enough to get in the same room, and perhaps building some of the trust that had been frayed by a pair of misunderstandings this week.
Its been reported that progress has been made in the area of the pension plan and the second year salary cap number, and that both sides are showing encouraging amounts of movement toward a middle ground. Former NHL defenseman Bret Hedican even tweeted on Saturday afternoon that: Nothing official yet that I've heard, but several sources have said it's done. Let's hope this is Official!
But several players contacted by CSNNE.com indicated that theyve heard no official word about the lockout being over, and were skeptical about any reports saying otherwise.
Those NHL players contacted by CSNNE.com are in Ill Believe It When I See It mode after spending too much time on the CBA meat grinder over the last four months.
The assumption is that the NHL and NHLPA are working diligently for an agreement as the hours count down to the players association having another opportunity to file a disclaimer of interest motion at 6 p.m. The NHL is still on target for a Jan. 19 start to the regular season that would open up a 48-game shortened regular season featuring a compacted schedule against only conference foes.
A dose of reality: the NHL and NHLPA have been close to agreements on several occasions in the last month and have had talks disintegrate quickly over one snag or another. So cautious optimism is once again the phrase of the day.