I agree with that. Gary and Bob will be there when/if it gets done.
Also, they don't have to get together face to face to keep working on this. In fact, it might be beneficial for both sides to "go to their corners" and do some hard thinking on what can still be done to save this thing. Daly said that they would still be "talking" and I took that to mean that it could be via the phone.
One good thing came out of these meetings. Unlike '94 when Gartner met with Fletcher and came away with the impression that they indeed read the owners correctly in that they were bluffing, Linden met with Hotchkiss and company and found out that the owners are dead serious. He most likley got the same answers as what were given to them by Bettman. There should be no doubt in the PA camp that the owners are not bluffing. And if management isn't bluffing their reasons for the lockout are sound. It'll be interesting to see what happens now.
I also see the league coming back with a last offer. I expect the offer to contain a luxury tax with elevated hard cap which may grandfather in a strict cap system or atleast grandfather in the final level of the elevated hard cap over a couple of seasons. I expect the offer to contain free agency at 30. I expect the offer to include no arbitration. I expect the offer to contain a qualifying offer of 90% for those under the league average and 75% for those over it. I expect a minimal rollback of 10% or so instead of the 24%, though it will be allocated as before. I expect a rookie cap with performance bonused not to exceed 50% of that base salary and a signing bonus at that 50%. I expect a franchise player exemption to the cap/tax system. I expect an end to hold outs. I expect signing bonuses and incentives to count towards the cap. I expect a minimum payroll.
In the end I expect if the players accept the framework that the cap and tax ideas will not really be negotiable but that they can get free agency to 29 perhaps 28, will be able to get arbitration though with equal team rights, get bonuses of X amount per team to not be included under the cap, qualifying offers to be 100% and 85%. But the league is not going to change the cap percentages by much and the players will have to play ball within the chosen framework.
A lot depends on this weekend while the NHLPA stews over what they were told in 10 hours of frank discussion Wednesday and Thursday. The rhetoric was toned down quite a bit from Saskins and Linden the last two days...still on the no cap thing but not nearly as forceful. We'll see but between these meetings and Goodenow's message telling the players to plan on playing elsewhere for peanuts the next two years the leagues point of view might sink in with the PA membership. And they might realise that they misread the situation, the owners are committed to this and that the owners are the ones in the drivers seat.
I forget who it was, but someone from the negotiations eluded to that fact about Saskin.
Also, Daly was interviewed by tsn.ca(it's still on their website-"1 on 1 Interview) and said that they would be talking again and the timeframe he gave was "days" and then he was asked how much time there was to save the season and again he responded "days". To those who think a proposal is coming "next week" and that something could be worked out by the end of the week may be a little off.
I still think something could get done by the end of this weekend. My feeling is that they spent a good deal of time over the last few days nailing down the other peices of the CBA leaving only the cap/no cap piece left. Now it's up to either a compromise on that remaining issue or everyone starting to figure out what to do with their lives when the NHL folds.
Yes, I saw that, and anybody thinking that they were going to announce a deal after these two days, was being unrealistic, they're going to meet again and barring any unforseen events, a deal should be struck in the next few days, maybe a week IMO