There still will be some give-and-take, some offers and counter-proposals -- maybe even a few snags -- before an agreement is reached, but agent Pat Brisson likes the way Sidney Crosby's contract negotiations have moved along so far.
"They're going in the right direction," Brisson said last evening.
He declined to elaborate on the talks, which will resume today unless Brisson, who is based in Los Angeles, managed to hook up with Penguins general manager Ray Shero last night.
Shero could not be reached for comment.
It is not known precisely how much money Crosby is seeking or how long of a deal he wants. His camp likely has a number of scenarios in which his salary rises or falls based on the number of seasons a particular deal would cover.
It has, however, become clear that Crosby will not seek the maximum salary to which he is entitled under the NHL's collective bargaining agreement. That would be 20 percent of the league's $50.3 million salary-cap maximum for the 2007-08 season, or $10.06 million per year for the life of the contract.
Crosby's motivation for doing that is to give management money that can be used to keep the team's nucleus of exceptional young talent together in coming years.
Defenseman Ryan Whitney recently got a six-year, $24 million deal and players such as goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and forwards Jordan Staal and Evgeni Malkin will have to be re-signed over the next two years.
In return for accepting a reduced salary -- teams would line up to give him the maximum if he would opt to explore restricted free agency next summer -- Crosby is expected to seek assurances from management that it will spend the money needed to assemble and maintain a championship-caliber team.
That apparently is what Crosby was referring to last week when, asked what kind of salary he would be looking for, he replied rather cryptically that "there are a lot of things that will factor into that."
Brisson did not say that getting such a commitment from the front office will be a part of these negotiations, but did volunteer that "the best way to describe Sidney is, he's driven by winning."
Team officials have said repeatedly that their payroll will rise when the team moves into the city's new multipurpose arena, which they hope will happen during the 2009-10 season.
Crosby has a year remaining on his entry-level contract, so even if Brisson and Shero reach an agreement today, it won't take effect until the 2008-09 season.
Dave Molinari can be reached at DWMolinari@Yahoo.com .