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Newz Forum: HOCKEY: NHL, players representative meet, but no serious talk

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posted on Oct, 28 2004 @ 11:43 AM
NEW YORK -- Negotiators for the NHL and its players' union discussed various topics in their first face-to-face meeting in over a month, but the league's labor problems were not the focus of the talks.

Ted Saskin, the senior director of the players association, was in New York on other business Tuesday and got together with Bill Daly -- the NHL's chief legal officer.

The sides had not met in person since the last negotiating session on Sept. 9, one week before the NHL imposed a lockout following the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement.

"I know they were in the same place, but it was more of a conversation as opposed to a negotiation," NHL spokesman Frank Brown said Wednesday, the 42nd day of the lockout.

Daly and Saskin talked about last month's World Cup of Hockey tournament, a joint venture between the league and the players association, and other issues. The ongoing labor dispute was also discussed but just in a passing fashion.

No negotiating took place and no plans were made to meet in the future.

NHLPA spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon also said Tuesday's meeting was not a negotiating session and that no future labor talks were set up.

The NHL regular season was due to begin Oct. 13, but games are being canceled by teams on a 45-day rolling basis.

During the last negotiating session in Toronto, the NHLPA proposed a luxury-tax based system that was rejected by the league. The NHL wants a system that guarantees "cost certainty" which the players association says is akin to a salary cap -- a solution it refuses to accept.

Player representatives from all 30 clubs will meet with union leadership in Toronto on Tuesday to get an update on the lockout that shows no sign of ending.

There is no hope of games being played before December, and even the most optimistic observers say there won't be any NHL hockey until the new year.

It is then that the league and the players association will face a deadline: make a deal, or try again in the fall to save the 2005-06 season.

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