NHL, NHLPA to resume collective bargaining negotiations on Friday
TORONTO - The NHL and NHL Players' Association have agreed to return to the bargaining table.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHL Players' Association special counsel Steve Fehr had a face-to-face meeting today in Toronto and scheduled a formal negotiating session between the sides for Friday.
A location for the talks has yet to be determined.
The first collective bargaining negotiations since Sept. 12 are expected to focus on non-core economic issues, a departure from the approach taken in the final weeks before the lockout was enacted.
The sides were unable to make much progress on economics — they were $1 billion apart on their most recent proposals — and have instead decided to work on other issues that will make up the agreement.
Top officials from the NHL and NHLPA met Monday to review last season's economics and finalize escrow payments due to players. The CBA was not discussed.
After the session, Daly told reporters that the league was looking for some movement from the union because the NHL had tabled the most recent offer.
"Obviously, we've got to talk before you can get a deal, so I think it's important to get the talks going again," said Daly. "But you also have to have something to say. I think it's fair to say we feel like we need to hear from the players' association in a meaningful way because I don't think that they've really moved off their initial proposal, which was made more than a month ago now."
The NHL is currently engaged in its fourth work stoppage in the last 20 years. Since the lockout started a midnight on Sept. 15, a handful of players have expressed concern that it could last the entire season, with Detroit Red Wings forward Danny Cleary telling reporters Monday that he was "just trying to be realistic."
It took three months for the NHL and NHLPA to resume bargaining after the lockout began in 2004. That season was ultimately wiped out by the labour dispute.