It's now safe to say that optimism is the highest its been since the start of the NHL lockout.
After a marathon talk on Tuesday that lasted nearly nine hours, the NHL's Board of Governors-- representatives from every team in the league -- met in person for the first time since the beginning of the lockout. Gary Bettman spoke briefly after the meeting.
"We just completed a two-hour Board of Governors meeting that was basically an update," Bettman said. "We are pleased with the process that is ongoing, and out of respect for that process, I don't have anything else to say and I won't be taking any questions."
The NHL and NHLPA, without Bettman and union leader Don Fehr, will meet again in New York City on Wednesday afternoon. While a formal proposal has yet to be put on the table by either side, the progress and optimism coming from both sides of the negotiations are unlike anything we've seen to date in labor talks.
Leafs' Larry Tanenbaum: "We're going to continue to talk up until we get a deal." Asked if more clear where sides stand: "Absolutely."— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) December 5, 2012
All indications are that both sides are putting away the rhetoric and finally getting down to business. The next 24 hours will be telling as the same group of 18 players and six owners continue negotiating on the remaining issues, including contract length, restrictions on long-term deals that circumvent the salary cap and payments that ease the players' transition from the previous CBA to the new deal.