There was hope the NHL labor negotiations would resume on Tuesday. For once in the NHL lockout, hope of something getting done turned into reality.
The NHL and NHLPA will indeed meet on Tuesday, and they will return to the union's turf in Toronto. The most recent meetings took place at NHL headquarters in New York, where they didn't discuss the most important issues -- the core economic issues.
So what's on the agenda for Tuesday? It might very well be to set the agenda for future meetings.
#CBA Tuesday's labor talks to be held in Toronto. Told two sides will discuss ideas on how to move process fwd on key issues— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) October 15, 2012
Well, I suppose that's progress. Although it feels a little like spinning wheels while being stuck in the mud, it could lead the two sides to perhaps getting out of the pit that they've been in. Everybody is just waiting for the talks to start heading in any direction again instead of being stuck in the staring contest that they've had going for about a month.
If they will spend Tuesday's meeting trying to find a way to advance the talks, then I could probably spare them all the time with one simple suggestion. Make another offer. Please. Anybody. You can both make another proposal at any time; we're all waiting (and getting increasingly impatient).
The feeling is that the next offer is coming from the NHLPA -- as the NHL has been insisting on for weeks -- and it could be in the works. The cynic in me was expecting it to be very similar to the previous offers from the union, which were heavy on revenue sharing and not so keen on salary rollbacks.
But maybe that won't be the case.
Keep hearing about a radically different PA proposal. NHL also pondering its next move. It's all spin until a proposal is made.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) October 15, 2012
What could be radically different from the union's standpoint? Please don't let that mean removing the salary cap in the next offer. That would certainly qualify as radically different. As bad as the negotiations seem to be trending, it would get so much worse if that proposal were to be made. But it's still too early, and there is still some hope the 2012-13 season can be saved for salary-cap elimination to be a real consideration yet.
Who knows what the union could possibly present to the NHL. But hopefully on Tuesday they figure out that it's about time to present something and maybe, just maybe, we can start to see some progress. Or we could sink deeper into the abyss.
If the last few meetings have taught us anything, it's that we shouldn't get our hopes up. As Dreger put it, it's all spin until something actually happens. Until then, we play the waiting game.