And when we get behind closed doors,
Then she lets her hair hang down,
And she makes me glad that I'm a man,
Oh, no one knows what goes on behind closed doors.
"Behind Closed Doors" took Charlie Rich (pictured) to the top of the country music charts in 1973. But Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr weren't listening.
Not until this week.
Since Tuesday, negotiating teams have gone into hiding, meeting at a private location as they seek common ground in the NHL lockout.
We've heard very few rumors or details from those meetings.
But lockout watchers in the mainstream media insist (cautiously) that this is a good sign.
It's certainly true that nobody can cut a deal when the press conferences are longer than the bargaining sessions, as has been the case to this point in the 2012 labor war.
Progress can only be made when negotiators agree to negotiate. That means facing each other for long hours, grinding through the details, giving a little here to get a little there.
The theory is that none of this happens until the two sides stop talking to the media and go behind closed doors.
Like we said a couple of weeks ago, the framework for a deal is there, if and when the NHL and NHL Players' Association are ready to work with it.
Can't imagine anyone is "letting their hair hang down." But have Bettman and Fehr finally agreed to cut the sniping, rise above grudges, end their game of chicken, and focus on the task at hand?
If so, we could have NHL hockey in December. Stay tuned....
Photo: American country music star Charlie Rich (1932-1995) in 1975 (Keystone/Getty Images).