NEW YORK--Not much to say. Yet. Which may be good.
"We are pleased with the process that is ongoing," said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman after emerging from a two-hour Board of Governors meeting just before 2 p.m. today.
"Out of respect for that process, I'm not going to say anything more."
Bettman also did not take any questions before departing the Manhattan hotel board room. A meeting between a group of NHL owners and a group of players is expected to commence soon as optimism continues to reign that there may be a resolution in the offing to the NHL lockout, which has been in place since Sept. 15.
Contract language and the so-called "make whole" issue are thought to be at the centre of the dialogue. Pittsburgh owner Ron Burkle and star Penguins forward Sidney Crosby, along with Mario Lemieux and agent Pat Brisson, were credited with getting talks moving in a new and positive direction on Tuesday.
Given how much of the past two months has been marred by rhetoric, leaks and name-calling, the fact that neither side isn't saying much may be a very good thing.
"We feel good about the information we got," said new Columbus president John Davidson after the board meeting. Leaf minority owner and chairman Larry Tanenbaum said: "We're going to keep talking up until we get a deal."
The owners-players meeting, again without Bettman and NHLPA boss Don Fehr, is expected to begin about 2:15 this afternoon. The same six owners - Burkle, Larry Tanenbaum (Leafs), Mark Chipman (Jets), Murray Edwards (Flames), Jeff Vinik (Tampa) and Jeremy Jacobs (Bruins) - are again involved.