NHL Lockout 2012: Will This Week Provide A Breakthrough Between The NHL And NHLPA?

We saw the two sides meet secretly on Friday, but will it provide a breakthrough?

Last week yielded some positives after the two sides secretly met in Toronto to discuss HRR. Many experts have said that once the two sides started meeting quietly, without engaging the other party in the PR battle, we would start to see some progress.

Well, the first half of that equation happened Friday, and the two sides spoke via the phone on Saturday and Sunday in order to see the best way to not only move forward but also push the talks in the right direction. As of this writing, there have been no further meetings planned; although some are expected to take place this week.

But will we see any progress?

This is the third straight week fans have hoped to see the two sides find some common ground. To this point they've found nothing. Reports have surfaced that both sides have urged the other to come forward with a new offer in order to kick-start talks, indicating that both sides are beginning to feel the heat now that the first two weeks have been wiped off the board.

Currently, the NHL is publicly awaiting for a counter from the NHLPA. The players have yet to give another proposal to the owners, despite the NHL giving the most recent offer in these negotiations back in September.

Rumors are currently swirling that Donald Fehr and the union have crafted (or are crafting) a new offer, although they have yet to table it to the NHL. It would be a major step forward for the NHLPA to present a new offer to the owners. Hopefully, the union sends a proposal that gets the owners thinking.

At this stage in the game that hasn't happened yet. Rather than revising their original offer -- which has been Fehr's negotiation strategy to this point -- the NHLPA needs to give a little with a new proposal and get both sides closer to a deal.

That would, hopefully, prompt the NHL to counter, and have the two sides finally start negotiating on one offer. Right now? They're negotiating off their own offers, which doesn't help move things forward.

Hopefully we see that soon.

Hockey in October depends on it.