Talks between the NHL and the NHLPA started heating up last night, as both sides - we believe - drew closer to an agreement. There remains a "ways to go", but at least they're talking. As far as we know, the union has not filed a disclaimer of interest, though when asked if they had, Donald Fehr simply replied "that's an internal matter", and refused to elaborate. As Renaud Lavoie put it: "In not using the disclaimer of interest tonight, we can assume that progress has been made."

Talks are scheduled to resume at 10 a.m. today, and I anticipate more progress will be made. Call me an optimist.

My own take on this situation - as it has been for some time - is that we will see hockey being played in January. Hang on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen.

Here are your links:

Why would the Leafs ever have Morgan Rielly play here this season?
Hopefully, they won't. I HOPE YOU'RE READING THIS, MR. CARLYLE. From Michael Langlois.

Strong power play helps Marlies cruise to win over Bulldogs
This is awesome news, especially with Jake Gardiner starting to feel better and Nazem Kadri being close to ready. Article from the CP and injury updates from Henny.

Down Goes Brown: 2012 - The NHL year in review
Always worth a click.

While You Were Sleeping: Why did Russia need a shootout to beat Switzerland?, US rolls over Czechs
World Junior updates from Ryan Lambert at BHS.

Who’s happiest the NHL may come back soon? Minor leaguers
Players whose pro careers are short need to make hay while the sun shines. From Ryan Lambert at BHS.