NHL labor talks to resume Tuesday in Toronto

  • Associated Press
  • Monday, October 15, 2012 10:52pm
  • SportsSports

NEW YORK — The NHL and its locked-out players will resume negotiations Tuesday 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 Tuesday 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. The inability to close the gap on the revenue fight has all but assured no NHL games will be played in October.

After five hours of talks at the league office Wednesday, the sides got back together for nearly as long — in two sessions — on Thursday.

Daly estimated the NHL lost $100 million from the cancellation of the entire preseason and would be out another $140 million to $150 million with the regular-season losses.

The NHL still says it is waiting for a new proposal from the union, with the owners adamant players accept a significant drop from the 57 percent of revenue they received under the salary cap in the last contract. The players don’t want what they consider massive cuts at a time when the overall revenue pot reached record numbers ($3.3 billion) last year.

The union contends the league hasn’t offered anything to the players in exchange for their agreement to lower the percentage they receive. The players’ association says the NHL, in its subsequent proposals, has agreed only to trim the amount it wishes to hold back from the players.

A new offer Tuesday isn’t required for talks on hockey-related revenue to take place. But there is no guarantee the topic will be broached. Last week, the sides tried to determine what constitutes hockey-related revenue.

The league and union exchanged offers Sept. 12, but none has been made by either party since the lockout began.

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