It’s completely understandable that a great many of NHL fans have taken a "Whatever, just tell me when it’s done" stance toward updates about ongoing CBA negotiations (now that there actually are some) as days have turned into weeks and weeks have turned into months. Fair enough.

With information about what’s been going on between Gary Bettman and NHL owners and Donald Fehr and the NHLPA at a premium, disinterest and contempt for the whole drawn-out process abounds, even as the parties involved and reporters have hunkered down in New York with a drop-dead date – Jason Gregor has been saying Jan. 11 for months – approaching.

That said, and admitting I loathe to do so, having mostly resisted the urge to document every development and non-development, it looks and sounds to me as if Bettman and Fehr have made substantial progress this weekend and are grinding their way toward a deal. I’m clearly not alone.

Former player Jeff O’Neill went as far as to make a bogus announcement on Twitter today that a deal was done and that training camp would open Jan. 12. I’m assuming, of course, it was O’Neill’s account and that he wasn’t hacked again, as he claimed after making stupid remarks about Bettman weeks ago.

Done deal? Not yet, but there have been enough snippets of optimism from observers far more plugged in than O’Neill, like Bill Watters of Sportsnet, to cite one example, this afternoon to suggest the sides are down to the details, and the devils contained within.


First, here’s what we got from O’Neill in the early afternoon:

BREAKING- is over. Camp opens Jan 12. 50 game season.

Then, from Brett Hedican:

I’m hearing that the is over! Let’s get back 2 watching the greatest gm on earth! & let’s not allow this to ever happen again!

I’m guessing that if a deal does get done, it won’t be O’Neill or Hedican who breaks the story. Here’s what Watters and others had to say in the wake of O’Neill’s tweet as meeting continued in New York.

Sources confirm that is just messing with people on twitter. He’s good at it!

Relieved to hear from the PA@RealKyper that there could be a deal within 24 hrs.What happened to the Disclaimer?Have the players taken over

Definitely still a few significant issues that need resolution, but NHL and NHLPA also trying to hammer it out

Making progress. Not tonite but will be done. Motivation is to play more than 48 games..nice change in whats motivating each side.

I know. I know. "Whatever . . ." But, given what we’re hearing, it might not be long until somebody – likely in the most frantic thumb-typing display in Twitter history in the rush to be first – does tell us that it’s done. Mercy, already. I hope so.

 Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.