The NHL and NHLPA are expected to be back at the bargaining table today after a marathon day of talks on Wednesday.
A potential stumbling block was averted last night when the Players Association let a self- imposed deadline to file a “disclaimer of interest” pass.
However, the players will reportedly vote again to authorize the NHLPA executive board to disclaim. The vote expected to come within the next 48 hours.
The sides were due to return to the league office nine hours after talks broke off early Thursday morning to resume discussions with U.S. federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh, who has rejoined the process in recent days.
"There's been some progress, but we're still apart on a number of issues," said commissioner Gary Bettman. "As long as the process continues I am hopeful."
His counterpart, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, echoed the sentiment that movement had been made at the bargaining table but was vague about how long negotiations will continue in the manner they've been going.
The union still has the option to poll players on whether they'd support a "disclaimer of interest" -- the first one passed overwhelming last month -- and a source indicated that it remains a viable option if a deal isn't struck soon.
Among the issues still to be ironed out are pension funds and the salary cap for 2013-14, which is particularly important since the sides have already agreed on a 50-50 split of revenue. The league continues to look for a US$60-million cap while the union is asking for one at $65 million, according to sources.
The NHL has said an agreement needs to be reached by January 11th so they can salvage the season with a 48 game schedule.