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NHL CBA Meetings Update: Well, I Mean They're Talking...

The Reverend Brock Nelson has yet to be called into CBA talks, but that doesn't mean he's not jotting down notes for a sermon.
The Reverend Brock Nelson has yet to be called into CBA talks, but that doesn't mean he's not jotting down notes for a sermon.

Pity the reporters who cover the NHL in a New York- or Toronto-accessible habitat and are assigned to wait outside hours of meetings only to be told it's "too early to characterize" the day's events.

That's what reporters fetched from Mathieu Darche after today's meetings, with Steve Zipay (Newsday), Katie Strang (ESPN NY) and Rob Rossi (Pittsburgh Tribune) among other scribes drawing the short straw, tweeting updates and probably now left to figure out how to file a story on the day's meetings. (Do find their stories when filed, and appreciate how they all are charged with squeezing blood from a Fehr, I mean Bettman, I mean you know.)

Nonetheless, the fact that the two sides aren't disclosing much about today's meetings is a good thing, or at least a not-disastrous thing: At least neither side walked away in a huff and questioned the point of continuing this week's scheduled meetings. So there's that. They have the rest of the week to out-huff each other. [Update: Judging by early leaks about the NHL proposal, chances for NHLPA huffing are high.]

For the record, the word coming from multiple reporters above is that there were more than two hours of meetings in the morning, including what is believed to be NHL ownership's new or revised (counter- to the PA offer, it turns out) proposal, followed by Donald Fehr circling back with his constituents before a brief resumption of talks in the afternoon.

Bettman, holding serve for the owners and having made today's proposal, had the honor of trying to characterize it for media. Chris Botta quoted him as saying the big issue is contracts, and revenue sharing is not a deal-breaker at this point.

To Bettman's credit, during the media scrum afterward he repeatedly refused to characterize the offer nor "negotiate through the public" which, though a frustrating stance for the news hound, is probably more productive for the actual bargaining process.

The brightest news, if you can call it that: The PA will review the proposal further and respond tomorrow. The sides will meet tomorrow. Whether that meeting begins with Fehr saying, "Nice try, weasel," or "There's at least something to work with here" probably dictates the pace of further huffing.