NHL lockout: Negotiations between league, union at 'delicate' phase

Bruce Bennett

The NHL lockout could be ending in the very near future, but the marathon negotiations have reached a very delicate phase, according to multiple reports.

Feelings continue to get hurt, tempers continue to flare and 82 days have already been lost to the NHL lockout, but by all accounts, progress is being made. Michael Grange of Sportsnet says that the marathon negotiations on Wednesday wrapped up at about 12:45 a.m., and that the "gap is narrowing."

Grange says that NHL owners have significantly improved their offer with the aim of getting a deal in place to play a season of about 60 games, which would hopefully start before 2013 gets underway. This is what Michael Russo of the Star Tribune had described to him as a "delicate juncture" and a "serious point."

In the report from Grange, it's noted that Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres lost his temper briefly, while Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs threatened to leave the negotiation. Renaud Lavoie went on to say on Twitter that talks went so bad in the afternoon on Wednesday, that multiple owners were ready to end the bargaining process.

Instead, the two sides worked things out, and while plenty of key issues still remain, more bargaining can only help the cause of a potential truncated season. Provided both sides can keep their tempers in check, that is.

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