If you're a fan of bluster and grandstanding, Thursday was a banner day for the NHL.
Coming out of their latest meeting, Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr looked and sounded especially peevish:
"We're nowhere close... not speaking the same language... not a good day... a step backward... very discouraged..."
You get the idea.
Not what we want to hear from the commissioner of the NHL and head of the Players' Association, especially with talk of a breakthrough in the air.
But behind the rhetoric, the foundation of a new collective bargaining agreement has been laid.
The NHLPA made a series of proposals to the league on Thursday.
Details aside - and there are countless maddening details - the bottom line is that the players have agreed to (eventually) settle for 50 per cent of NHL revenue.
Just like Bettman wants.
Chopping the players' share from 57 to 50 is a complex business, fraught with mind-bending arguments about existing contracts, my-math-versus-your-math, and so on.
But philosophically, the argument is over.
In the battle over how to divide about $3 billion per year, they have found the inevitable middle ground.
Many other issues remain on the table, like free agency, term limits on contracts, and revenue sharing.
They're contentious issues that will likely be resolved only after many long, draining, frustrating hours in the board room.
But taking on the tough issues and grinding out a deal is what collective bargaining teams are supposed to be good at.
The question now is how long it will take before both sides drop the posturing and start bargaining in earnest.
NHL Lockout Watch: The latest on negotiations to save the 2012-13 season.
Photo: With no games to play, Rangers forward Brad Richards (left) takes in a New York fashion show (Charles Eshelman/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week).