This weekend saw NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and players’ association special counsel Steve Fehr meet for a marathon negotiation session on Saturday. This meeting was held in an undisclosed location. This little clandestine operation is the first time the sides had gotten together for talks in more than two weeks. Perhaps Don Fehr and Gary Bettman have just had their fill of each other and are using their highest subordinates to pave the introductory negotiations in order to finally end this blasted lockout.
“We had a series of meetings over the course of the day and had a good, frank discussion on the most important issues separating us,” Daly told The Associated Press in an email Sunday morning. “We plan to meet again early in the week.”
Daly and Fehr hadn’t met since October 18th. That last negotiation session almost led to an eleventh hour compromise, but both sides left dissatisfied, and the fan base was given another ‘almost’ moment to brood over. Thankfully, a series of phone conversations this week between the NHL and the NHLPA did enough to produce a new round of talks. The exact conversation of this marathon was not disclosed to the media, but there are hopes we are finally getting somewhere.
“I agree with what Bill said. Hopefully we can continue the dialogue, expand the group, and make steady progress,” Fehr said Sunday in a statement.
Fans spirits have been knocked down over the last series of cancellations that included the 2013 Winter Classic. The loss of the biggest regular-season game was another black eye for the NHL and its players. Daly indicated that cancelling the Winter Classic doesn’t necessarily mean more games in the regular season(or the All Star game) will suffer a similar fate.
“I don’t foresee any further cancellation announcements in the near term,” Daly wrote in an email to The Associated Press on Friday.