Opinion: NHL, NHLPA have started CBA talks on a positive note, and that’s different

 SAN JOSE, Calif. – In my 33 seasons as USA TODAY Sports’ hockey writer, I’m seeing something I’ve never witnessed before.

The NHL and NHLPA have started collective bargaining discussions in a cordial way.

Acrimony. Mistrust. Skepticism. That’s how negotiations usually start, and historically they have deteriorated from there. Since 1992, every CBA negotiation has resulted in some disruption to a season.

That’s why it is noteworthy that the NHL Players' Association and the NHL are talking constructively about the CBA, even though it’s far too early to draw conclusions about what lies ahead.

“The thing that stands out to me the most is that we are able to have discussions with a lack of tensions,” said Mathieu Schneider, the NHLPA’s special assistant to the executive director. “When you start bargaining meetings like we did in 2012, you could cut the tension with a knife in the first couple of meetings and most meetings… (Now) we're able to have these meetings without any tensions, without any walls built up and it’s been very positive.”

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