The NHL and NHLPA met for about nine hours on Tuesday, and Wednesday, they repeated the feat, meeting for another nine hours and driving the entire hockey world mad by not releasing a single detail.
So after hours upon hours of staring at a podium, it was at least a bit of relief when NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly used that podium and lectern to give a brief statement, even if that statement came well after 1 a.m. ET.
"We had good candid, dialogue," Daly said. "A lot of issues. There continue to be some critical open issues between the two parties and we understand the union should be getting back to us [Thursday] on some of those issues."
Ron Hainsey: "We had a series of candid discussions tonight; we will meet again tomorrow #CBA"— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) December 6, 2012
As was the case after Tuesday's marathon bargaining session, the silence seems to be a good thing. Earlier in this work stoppage, both sides would leak details of meetings to the media while those meetings were still in progress, and when they stepped to the microphone afterwards, they would give history lessons and spout rhetoric in frustrating fashion.
But the tone has changed. In the last 48 hours, both sides have indicated "respect for the process," as Gary Bettman put it earlier Wednesday, and are not bothering to play the PR war. An ESPN.com report claimed earlier in the evening that negotiations were "tense," but instead of the sides breaking away from the table in a cloud of anger, they seem to be committed to hammering out the details and getting a deal done.
It might be frustrating that we don't have the specifics of negotiations, but that simple fact also means that we're likely nearing that light at the end of the tunnel.