NHL Lockout 2012: A race to the finish edition

It finally looks like the two sides are making real (read: actual) progress.

- First of all, happy new year. Honestly, a huge thanks from myself and the staff here at Blueshirt Banter. You guys make this worth every second of time we put into the website. Thanks for a great 2012, here's to a better 2013!

- Quick J.T. Miller note. He had a goal and two assists in Wednesday's USA win. The US will take on Canada Thursday in the semis.

- So let's start with where we are now: actual negotiations. The two sides have been busy since the NHL's initial offer last week. The NHLPA responded to that offer Monday, with the league internalizing the proposal and coming back with their own counter on Tuesday. Tuesday night the NHLPA said they were in the process of reviewing the offer and both sides expected to get back together on Wednesday.

- Some people have been frustrated by the two sides "hear a proposal then take a day to counter" actions the past few days, but this is what the negotiations were suppose to look like from the beginning. This is what a real CBA negotiation looks like. This is what bargaining looks like. According to the statements made by both Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr there is a ton of give and take right now as well. That's a good thing.

- Want to know another good thing? The two sides refusal to talk about the offers. We've been down that road before, however, but with the hard deadline looming we're in the "those little things do actually matter" territory when it comes to these talks.

- Also, I have a little issue with the way some fans have handled the past few days of meetings. The same people who were complaining about the two sides not locking themselves into a room until they have a deal are mad that the two sides negotiated so deep into a holiday? Guys, it's their job to fix this, if they didn't want to work New Year's Day then this should have been solved months ago. Actually, this should have been solved this summer anyway, but we can't worry about that now.

- Bettman said Tuesday night that the league relented on some of the Union's demands while they stayed firm on others. My guess? CBA length and contract lengths were the two big issues the league pushed for. I have no idea what else they would have given the Union, but I'm pretty confident they didn't give in on the above two issues (I have no inside information on that, just a guess).

- Word is that a 52-game season can be salvage if the two sides agree to a deal and the season starts January 12th. More likely? The January 19th start and a 48-game season.

- Believe it or not (you'll probably believe this) the actual hard deadline helped move things immensely. Whatever the reason is, let's just get this things signed and the boys back on the ice.

Thoughts guys? Remember, we'll have you covered with everything from today's talks later tonight.