There was some excitement Saturday afternoon when mediator Scot Beckenbaugh requested the NHL and NHLPA meet face-to-face
. The location -- the players' hotel -- was eyebrow-raising, too, since it was the first time a tete-a-tete was held in such surroundings.
The good news is that Beckenbaugh wouldn't have called them together if there wasn't something to talk about. But, in the social media age, excitement is a runaway train. We should know better.
Right now, it sounds like both sides seem to be saying they will not fully concede on any of the outstanding issues. For example, the last known proposals on the 2013-14 salary cap were $60 million (league) and $65 million (players). Assuming the above premise is correct, that means both the NHL and NHLPA are saying, "We're not coming all the way to your side. But we'll talk about what's between those numbers."
So, when you add outstanding issues like next season's cap, contract term limits (which already are tight together) and variance to the passion both sides have shown in fighting for these positions, you can see the potential potholes.
No one is going to want to be seen as "giving up" on all of these things. It's not so simple as splitting the cake and it's hard to say how far either side is willing to move. It's going to be inch-by-inch and it's going to be intense.
Meanwhile, the players finished their "Disclaimer of Interest" vote at 6 pm (ET). While it is expected the mandate to file will be overwhelming, it's believed they will not do so unless talks break down. So, we'll wait to this if this wildcard becomes part of the process, or just the threat of it is enough.
It could be a long night, which isn't a bad thing.
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