Mediators had been brought in. They concluded it was an impossible task. Perhaps not their words exactly, but when professional mediators cannot help two sides find a middle ground, it speaks volumes.
So after that failed, there was a suggestion for the owners and players to meet face to face. What a radical concept!
Yesterday the owners were represented by Ron Burkle (Pittsburgh Penguins), Mrak Chipman (Winnipeg Jets), Murray Edwards (Calgary Flames), Jeremy Jacobs (Boston Bruins), Larry Tanenbaum (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Jeff vINIK (Tampa Bay Lightning).
There was a long list of players that the owners met with. In alphabetical order - 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.
Both sides met for nearly 8 1/2 hours and according to many sources, Burkle was very helpful in bringing both sides closer together.
"I think everybody wants to get a deal done, so I think that's encouraging," said NHL Deputy Commissioner, Bill Daly. "We look forward to making more progress."
More progress comes on Wednesday before and after the Board of Governor's meeting.
Steve Fehr, attorney for the NHLPA, commented that Tuesday "may have been the best day we've had so far. I don't want to paid too rosy of a picture, however. A lot of work remains to be done."
That they are working on it is progress itself. At this point, with games canceled through next week, any progress is a good sign.