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League, players union ready to resume talks

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Associated Press

NEW YORK

The NHL and its locked-out players will resume negotiations today in Toronto after a four-day break following two days of meetings last week.

The announcement Monday comes on the same day players missed their first scheduled paycheck of the regular season. The NHL has called off 82 games through Oct. 24 — the first two weeks of the season. More cancellations likely will be made soon if a deal isn’t reached.

An agenda is not yet set for the talks that shift to the union’s office from league headquarters. But the sides will be looking to make headway on the core economic issue — the division of hockey-related revenue. That issue took a back seat in New York last week when the league and union worked on secondary matters that also must be resolved.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly are expected to meet with union executive director Donald Fehr and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr.

“It’s fair to say that we will be looking for ways to advance the puck on the main issues — how to move the process forward,” Daly told The Associated Press in an email.

Bettman and Donald Fehr took part only briefly during last week’s negotiations that featured four separate bargaining sessions over the two days.

So far, the sides have set aside only today to negotiate. This will mark the second time the league has gone to union headquarters since the lockout began Sept. 16. An unannounced session was held there Oct. 5.

“We remain committed, as we have throughout this process, to reaching an agreement so that we can get the players back on the ice,” said former defenseman Mathieu Schneider, now an NHLPA special assistant to the executive director. “Our meeting on Tuesday is another opportunity for us to get together in an effort to advance the discussions and find a way to reach a deal.”

Last week, discussions centered on such issues as drug testing, player contract terms, grievances and other legal matters.