NHL owners, players continue playing nice as lockout talks get hardcore

NHL owners and players continued to negotiate Wednesday without commissioner Gary Bettman (above)...

NHL owners and players continued to negotiate Wednesday without commissioner Gary Bettman (above) and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr in the room. (FRED GREENSLADE/Reuters file photo)

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:08 AM ET

NEW YORK - As Day 81 of the NHL lockout dawned here just off Broadway, the players and owners found themselves with a hard act to follow.

There was progress Tuesday, after all, and and as they talked through until Day 82 there was an inevitable rise of optimism that there may be hockey before Christmas.

There were meaningful, sustained labour negotiations for the first time in weeks, a frustrating side to the ordeal given that it had taken so long to get to this point.

And when the talks finally ended at 12:50 a.m. Thursday morning, there was a sense from both sides that, if they collectively pulled their act together, another lost season could be avoided.


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