Could This Be the End of the NHL Lockout? / by Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson

 Photography by Bruce Bennet/Getty Images

Photography by Bruce Bennet/Getty Images

Probably not, but what's the harm in getting our hopes up only to have them dashed yet again?

My good friend Andy Minor just sent me this glimmer of hope: Iain MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun wrote on Twitter that Sportnet's Nick Kypreos is reporting that some NHL coaches are "calling players to tell them to be ready for an imminent return." 

Yes, I know—secondhand, unconfirmed reports. This is how bad it's got being a hockey fan, at least one on this side of the Atlantic. Optimistically, Canada's Sportsnet reported that deputy commissioner Bill Daly is "look[ing] forward to hopefully making more progress tomorrow," with that "tomorrow" meaning today, which means Kypreos' reports just may have some weight, as long as the progress Daly and the NHLPA were hoping to make today has been made. And it may have been: According to a piece put up today, even Gary Bettman is "pleased" with the recent talks. While he did not answer any questions at the brief press conference, he claimed to do so "out of respect for [the] process," and the fact that he made any public statement, especially an optimistic one, is a good sign. (I mean, it has to be, right?)

How any of this will actually shake out is still very much unresolved, but the fact that in the last few days the entire tone of this lockout has changed from abysmally grim to cautiously optimistic is a good sign. As much as I want to remain cynically removed, my hopes are up.