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A breakthrough in NHL lockout talks — or a final tease?

A minor hockey player shoots on the Edmonton Oilers' Devan Dubnyk during the Pros 4 Goals hockey...

A minor hockey player shoots on the Edmonton Oilers' Devan Dubnyk during the Pros 4 Goals hockey camp at the Terwillegar Community Rec Centre, 2051 Leger Road, Thursday October 18, 2012. Five members of the Edmonton Oilers took part in the event which was a fundraiser for the Stollery Children's Hospital and Sports Central. The event gave 30 young hockey players the chance to skate with and learn from the Oiler players. (DAVID BLOOM/QMI Agency)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:03 AM ET

EDMONTON - A breakthrough that’s going to pave the way for hockey, or a cruel and final tease before the NHL kicks the stool from under its feet and lets the noose to do its work?

We’ll find out soon enough. But for those still burning a candle in the window for a once-great league, there is a last glimmer of hope.

With the NHL and NHLPA not only speaking, but apparently speaking the same language for the first time in about 108 days, there seems a genuine chance that the season will be saved.

Or at least the last 48 games of it.

“As players we can’t help but get excited every single time there’s communication,” said Devan Dubnyk, one of the Edmonton Oilers player reps. “You just have to try and keep a level head because there have been disappointments before. Hopefully one of these times it’ll be the real thing.”

This appeared to be the plan all along, a four-month game of chicken designed to culminate in where we are today: the first serious negotiations of the


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