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NHL lockout: Blackhawks try to stay upbeat

Jamal Mayers sat in on lockout negotiations last week. He came away with a positive message for fans and players.

Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

Chicago Blackhawks' forward Jamal Mayers remains optimistic that a deal between the NHL and the NHLPA is close. Mayers sat in on meetings between the two sides last week in New York City. Although the negotiations ended poorly, Mayers' takeaway was that an agreement was imminent. Here's what Mayers had to say, via CSN Chicago:

"Being involved in those meetings, the reality is we are that close. My hope is when the dust settles and cooler heads prevail there's enough owners - quite frankly it'll have to come from them - to put pressure on (commissioner Gary Bettman) and say, ‘Are we going to lose a season over how close we are?'"

Mayers implied that the players have made most of the compromises so far, and that the owners will have to offer more concessions. Although specifics remain unresolved, Mayers stressed the big picture, which shows that the two side are closer than one might think. Some of the issues that are still being contested include CBA length, player contract limits, and some transition items.

Ultimately, Mayers is optimistic that there will be an NHL season this year. Although nothing has been scheduled, the two sides are expected to meet again this week.