The NHL is headed to the NHLPA's turf for more collective bargaining on Tuesday, with the meetings taking place in Toronto.
So they're talking. Which is great. But about what?
One has to assume that core economic issues have been addressed in some fashion during their various talks about the ancillary stuff, but there hasn't been a session dedicated to the crux of the lockout in recent weeks.
As John Shannon of Sportsnet wrote on Monday, it's a stalemate endorsed by the players:
How do we get to a compromise without Don Fehr or Gary Bettman losing face? The League maintains it is up to the Players to put the next offer on the table. Bettman and Daly snuck into town 10 days ago, and tried to pry one out of Fehr.
On their conference call on Friday, the players en masse reaffirmed to the executive director NOT to advance any offer unless the NHL shows something back first. The owners have always asked for some sort of salary adjustment. And if the players' proposal doesn't include such a rollback, then there is no point in talking. So much for compromise.
As Shannon notes, there's still a deep mistrust on the part of players that the NHL will take a mile if they give an inch; like when Bob Goodenow offered a 24-percent rollback on existing salaries in 2004, claimed a salary cap was a "non-starter" for the players and then had the NHLPA swallow both in the eventual settlement.
That said, a glimmer of hope from Darren Dreger of TSN:
Keep hearing about a radically different PA proposal. NHL also pondering its next move. It's all spin until a proposal is made.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) October 15, 2012
So that's good news. Sorta. Obviously, any players' offer is going to have preservation of current contracts at its core, and the NHL want a salary adjustment. So round and round we go …