They're trying. That much can be said.
A group of NHL owners and players put in another marathon collective bargaining session Wednesday in New York, not breaking up until 1 a.m. Thursday.
When it was over, Winnipeg Jets defenseman Ron Hainsey told reporters the two sides had "a series of candid discussions." NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly called it "good, candid dialogue" but also noted there are "critical open issues between the two parties."
Is the NHL closer to finally starting the season? It's still too early to tell. In an effort to agree on a CBA and end the lockout, other sessions have seemed promising and fallen apart with much rancor.
The two sides will meet again Thursday. The NHLPA will hold an internal meeting before the CBA session.
For the second straight day, six NHL owners and a group of players held collective bargaining meetings without NHL commissioner Gary Bettman or NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr in the room. For the second day, some apparent progress was made, with both the league and union making CBA proposals.
Both sides emerged from Tuesday's sessions feeling generally optimistic about the dialogue and exchanges. On Wednesday, the NHL held its scheduled board of governors meeting, and NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly gave an update on what had been said.
"We are pleased with the process that is ongoing," Bettman told reporters after the governors meeting, without elaboration and without taking questions.
After the two-hour governors meeting, the six owners and the group of 19 players again met -- together and in separate groups -- Wednesday afternoon and then late into the night. Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and Pittsburgh Penguins forward Craig Adams had to leave because of other commitments.
It's believed the league is seeking a 10-year CBA, while the union has proposed a shorter term, possibly five years.
There was speculation the two sides might be considering a 54-game season that would begin either just before or after Christmas.
The league is requesting an immediate 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue (HRR) and says it will "make whole" the players' existing contracts through deferred payments. The players received 57 percent of HRR last season -- about $1.88 billion.