One could take it as a good sign that the NHL and NHLPA met for five hours this afternoon, pouring over books and discussing numbers. Or, one could take it for the tedious slog that it probably was. The going over accounting did not lead to a plan to further discuss the CBA, and was probably a beacon of false hope for millions of hockey fans who would really like to just go to a pre-season game.
Steve Fehr, the special counsel for the NHLPA, declined comment. Bill Daly, never one to decline to comment about the situation offered this up:
"Obviously, we've got to talk before you can get a deal, so I think it's important to get the talks going again," said deputy commissioner Bill Daly. "But you also have to have something to say. I think it's fair to say we feel like we need to hear from the players' association in a meaningful way because I don't think that they've really moved off their initial proposal, which was made more than a month ago now."
OK, then. That did not include a backhanded swipe at the PA in any way, shape, or form. Nope. It gets better:
"I'm hoping that some of (the players') pessimism is almost an intentional pessimism because certainly that's not where our mindset is," said Daly. "We don't want an extended work stoppage, we don't want to miss any regular-season games. That's going to be our mindset until we have to cancel some."
It would seem to me that the players, on a matter of principle, would hold out as long as possible. Not only do you have VPs of teams calling you "cattle," you also have the deputy commissioner saying that you're pessimistic on purpose; that you're diverting blame from yourselves in this. Because honestly, the blame lies with the players who would like their contract to be kept, right?