LOCKOUT — It’s the ‘Best Day’ Yet, But Is It Good Enough?

A small group of owners and players met yesterday without the watchful eyes of their lawyers representatives Gary Bettman, Bill Daly, and the Fehrs. It was another league strategy — the idea proposed by Bettman — that seemed to be just another tactic as well as a pretty make-or-break day in the lockout, since we’re getting ever closer to the point where the season is completely gone. It was a supposed make-or-break day in a fall that seems to have been full of them.

From what is being written, it seems that the player-owners only meeting may have been a good thing. It had the representatives of both sides calling it the ‘best day’ they’ve had so far:

Fehr and Daly didn’t say much, other than “this might be the best day we’ve had” in CBA negotiations and that there’s “still a lot to be done.” Nor did they take questions from the approximately 1 billion media members who had sat in the Westin Times Square lobby for the entire day. But that might be a good thing. Tight-lipped, as we’ve learned in this process over the last few months, is certainly better than rhetoric and posturing.

The interesting thing about a face-to-face meeting is that all of a sudden the interpreters — uh, I mean, Bettman, Daly, and the Fehrs — wouldn’t be around. That would probably draw much stronger emotion, positive or negative, from the meeting’s participants. Think about when you deal with an important bosses’ secretary. If that secretary isn’t the nicest person and sticks solely to the directives from their boss, things that normally might have gotten done between you and your boss start to stagnate. Then there’s the part where the secretary might not be so enjoyable to work with, even though your boss may be just the opposite. At some point, it’s easier to work face-to-face than through a mediator. Maybe that’s what happened in the players-owners meeting the other day.

The owners could have taken a hard line and risked angering the players more, probably losing the season in the process. Or they could have played sad pandas to Bettman’s ice cold robot, and worked things out. It seems, we might have gotten the later. But it’s hard to tell, with the media (this blogger included) spinning in circles for months and over-analyzing every single event.

Following the meeting, the news coming out of it is good but everyone’s hedging their bets. Darren Dreger makes sure to cover all of the bases:

But maybe we’re actually getting somewhere. The two sides met again this morning at 9am and there’s a Board of Governors meeting scheduled for 11am with a press conference afterwards. Bettman’s cancelled that press conference, a sign that good news is coming? Maybe. If so, it’s about damned time. But sort of like the Isles and the move to Barclays, no one will know for sure until they want us to.

(UPDATE: Well, the press conference is on and Sportsnet has a huge crazy banner for it.)