There are no big-group meetings scheduled today between the NHL and NHLPA as of 11 a.m. Friday morning. Not like there's any urgency or anything. Reports out of New York have mediators going back and forth between the sides with no face-to-face negotiation currently scheduled.
It's been pretty widely reported that next Friday (Jan. 11) is the drop-dead date at which team Gary Bettman might cancel the season for the second time in eight years. But now there's a new report that says the season might go bye-bye on Thursday if there's little progress and no deal is imminent.
The report comes from the Winnipeg Free Press and not a major outlet that has had daily coverage of the talks like TSN or ESPN.com or Yahoo! But I would still give it some credence.
The author is veteran columnist Gary Lawless, who scored the last one-on-one interview with Bettman way back in November and is known to have good connections within the Board of Governors because the paper spent years chasing the hopes of getting a team back in Winnipeg. He says his source is a "veteran member" of the BOG.
It's likely Bettman & Co. consider the paper some of the only friendly turf they have because The Commish was a savior in The Peg for returning a team there after its 16-year absence.
So whether you believe Thursday or Friday, it's pretty clear there's no longer a moving target to get a deal done. It's a pretty tight timeline. We'll have a resolution in the next six days, one way or another.