Mark Tuesday, Dec. 4 on your calendars. It might end up being one of the most pivotal dates of the NHL season.
After a marathon labor meeting between six owners and 18 players, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr held a joint press conference — a remarkable statement in itself — before announcing what many hockey fans longed to hear:
It was a good day.
“We had a long day,” Fehr said. “We thought it was a constructive day. We had a good dialogue. In some ways I’d say it might be the best day we’ve had, which isn’t too overly optimistic of a picture. There is still a lot of work to do and a lot to be done.”
Fehr relayed that message after the sides gathered at 2 p.m. ET and met for over five hours before breaking for dinner, only to reconvene at 10 p.m. for another two-hour session.
That was followed by Daly and Fehr standing side-by-side to address the media.
“I appreciate the efforts of the players,” Daly said. “Everybody is working hard. I think everybody wants to get a deal done, so that’s encouraging. We look forward to hopefully making more progress tomorrow.
“Hopefully, we’ll have more to update you on tomorrow. We are going forward with our board meeting. Hopefully be back at it after that, as well.”
The 18 players involved in today’s talks were Craig Adams, David Backes, Michael Cammalleri, Sidney Crosby, B.J. Crombeen, Mathieu Darche, Shane Doan, Ron Hainsey, Shawn Horcoff, Jamal Mayers, Manny Malhotra, Andy McDonald, Ryan Miller, George Parros, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis, Jonathan Toews and Kevin Westgarth.
The players spent the afternoon and evening in labor discussions with six different owners — Jeremy Jacobs of the Boston Bruins, Ronald Burkle of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Mark Chipman of the Winnipeg Jets, Jeffery Vinik of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Murray Edwards of the Calgary Flames and Larry Tanenbaum of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The two sides are expected to meet again on Wednesday, prior to the NHL’s Board of Governors meeting.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is also scheduled to speak tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET.