The CBA negotiations have officially begun.
The first of many meetings between the NHL and the NHLPA took place on Friday in New York City. Sadly, a deal was not reached between the two sides. Hey, a guy can hope, right?
Instead, they met for about two or so hours, and while we aren't going to know a thing about what was actually discussed, or even if there was anything of subtance discussed since it was their first get-together, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly did release a statement.
“Members of our League Office staff and several of our owners met today with the NHLPA and various members of the players negotiating committee at the League Office in New York. The meeting was very cordial and we hope it was constructive.
“Before breaking, the parties discussed follow-up steps and confirmed plans for future meetings. We have nothing further to report at this time.”
Well, hey, at least it was cordial. Better than the sides coming to the table with shady eyes and hands over their holsters.
Not long after the NHL's statement, the Players' Association released a statement of its own from Donald Fehr.
“Eight players on the Negotiating Committee, along with NHLPA staff, met with Commissioner Gary Bettman, four NHL owners and a number of League staff and legal counsel at the League's office in New York," said Fehr in the statement. "Following today's meeting, we will review the NHL's initial presentation with the Players' committee before reconvening for further talks later next week.”
Jesse Spector of the Sporting News, who was on the scene when the negotiations broke up, said Capitals owner Ted Leonsis left with a big ol' smile. Of course, any time I've ever seen Leonsis he is smiling, so take that for what you will.
The best news of this all, though, is that the negotiations have finally begun.