NHL owners, realizing there will be no agreement with players and no season--if they insist on imposing a payroll tax, are softening their stance and are suggesting alternatives, such as taxes on free-agent signings and rookie salaries.
Those ideas were believed to have been presented to union chief Bob Goodenow on Tuesday at the end of a five-hour session in Boston. The next meeting is scheduled Friday in Boston.
"We could move forward, or there's a good chance it could get derailed," a management source said.
General Manager Harry Sinden of the Boston Bruins, a pessimist throughout the process, said Tuesday, "There is hope."
However, sources on both sides said no issue has been agreed upon.
"I don't see a deal being done in a day's time," Goodenow said. "There's an awful lot of work yet to be done for there to be an agreement, and there are some real sticking points."
Commissioner Gary Bettman will update the league's Board of Governors today in a conference call.