"We like to say that nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to, but we've certainly made some headway," Schneider said. "A lot of it was done previous to this morning. We're taking notes of where we stand. I would say that we have a lot of mutual ground that we have found agreement on."
It is not impossible that monetary issues will come up for discussion in this round of talks, they just aren't scheduled. Neither side has indicated it is prepared to make a new offer now regarding how to split up the more than $3 billion annual pot of hockey-related revenue.
"In general, when you're dealing with collective bargaining, when you start to have agreements on smaller issues, it can lead to bigger issues," Schneider said, "but it's still too early to say."
These are the first talks since the lockout was put in place on Sept. 16 and they came a day after the league canceled the remaining preseason games. The regular season is to start Oct. 11.
If a deal isn't reached soon, regular-season games will be in danger of being lost. The NHL canceled the entire 2004-05 season because of a lockout that eventually led to the collective bargaining agreement that expired this month.
"The calendar continues to tick along," Daly said. "My guess is as time goes on, regular-season games are at risk. I don't think it can be any more urgent than where we are now. We've had that level of urgency for a long time. In some respects you can meet all you want, but if there is no compromise or no movement or no new proposals I am not sure at the end of the day what you're meeting over.
"There is a very high degree of urgency certainly on our side. I can't speak for their side, but I am sure they would tell you there is a degree of urgency there, too."
Steve Fehr contended that the players' association is willing to discuss any issues at any time to try to make a deal soon.
"We can discuss the core issues whenever they want to do it," he said. "Bargaining is not ping pong. There are no rules on who has to serve.
"I don't want to use the adjective optimistic, but it was a productive discussion. We had a good session and hopefully it will continue and build momentum."