After optimism for an NHL season reached an all-time low following the cancellation of the annual Winter Classic on Friday, there was hope again over the weekend that the league's lockout could end relatively soon.
The best sign? Both the NHL owners and the NHL Players' Association decided to stop conducting their business in the media, unlike in September and October when announced negotiating sessions in hotels in New York and Toronto resulted in spin by both sides once things went poorly. That happened most notably Oct. 18 when the NHLPA put three counteroffers on the table to respond to NHL demands and a committee of four owners, including the Capitals' Ted Leonsis, walked out of the room within minutes.
But on Saturday the two sides spoke again. They just didn't want to promote it. According to multiple national media reports, NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr met for hours with NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly at an undisclosed location. It's a step in the right direction and a small sign of hope.
- Brian McNally