If you were hoping that a third day in a row of collective bargaining talks between the NHL and its Players' Association had Penguins players rolling in optimism, well, that's really not the case.
We asked defenseman Matt Niskanen, who returned today after being out of town for a bit, whether he came back because of the talks, he indicated it was simply a nice coincidence.
"I've planned this a while ago, but the timing was right," he said. "I was keeping track while I was gone what was going on in negotiations."
Niskanen said if nothing else, he is glad the sides are meeting.
"There's not a whole lot of excitement when they're not even talking, not even meeting," he said. "They're at least making an attempt, sitting down, having discussions. From what it sounds like, we didn't make a proposal and they walk out in 15 minutes [as happened a few weeks ago]. So they're actually talking, which is a good sign."
But at this point, that's as far as it goes.
"At least we're talking," Crosby said. "When there's talk, there's always a chance of progress. When there's no talk, there's zero chance."
Crosby attended Tuesday's long session. No one is divulging much if anything of the details of the meetings this week, but Crosby gave us a look at how they are set up. Everyone sits around a large table, he said.
"It was just conversation – good conversation," he said. "Nothing really got accomplished as far as agreeing on everything, but I think the fact that there's some good explanations and both sides are hearing each other out, that's a start. [It's] explanations back and forth. You go through proposals – why this is important or what they think.
Asked if he spoke during the session, Crosby said, "Not during the proposals, but there were some conversations. Everybody did at some point. It's pretty good having players there, that interaction with owners."
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