NHL, NHLPA finish three days of CBA negotiations
NEW YORK -- After three straight days of negotiations toward establishing a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, both sides are taking a step back from the negotiations.
According to National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, the League and the National Hockey League Players' Association each have internal work to do.
There are no further meetings currently scheduled.
"It's not like we're breaking off negotiations, it's that we need a little more time to do some work," Daly said after a five-hour negotiating session Sunday at the League office. "[The Union has] got some work to do, too."
The meeting Sunday continued negotiations on various health and player-safety issues, including drug testing and medical care, that the sides had briefly discussed during a session Friday. The League and the Union also had a lengthy discussion about various CBA legal issues, Daly said.
The interpretation of hockey-related revenue definitions, which was the focus of the session Saturday, was not discussed Sunday.
"We covered a number of areas with the Players' Association [Saturday] and they covered a number of areas with us," Daly said. "We talked about reconvening to talk about HRR when they were prepared to respond to the issues we raised [Saturday]."
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr were not present in the negotiations Sunday. Commissioner Bettman and Fehr held one-on-one discussions on both Friday and Saturday. There was no such discussion Sunday, Daly said.
"I think that may show or demonstrate more than anything else the nature of the issues we're talking about," Daly said. "We're really talking about micro issues, issues that we deal with on a day-to-day basis that don't necessarily rise to the Commissioner's level or the executive director's level. They will be at the table when we're talking about the issues that are really going to get this deal done or not."
Daly continued to refer to the issues discussed during the past 72 hours as important to getting a deal done, but not as essential as coming to an agreement on the critical economic and systematic issues that divide the two sides.
"What we're doing now and what we've done for the last two days, I don't think any of that is going to get a deal done but they are all necessarily elements of the deal," Daly said. "Again, I hate to keep saying it because I'm going to sound like a broken record, but we need some movement on the economic issues [from the Union]. We need some movement on the system issues. We need them to be scheduled as a subject of a meeting. Right now, the Union is not prepared to do that."
NHLPA Special Counsel Steve Fehr would not comment when he was asked if the Union is internally discussing the idea of bringing a new economic proposal to the bargaining table.
"We discuss all sorts of things internally and unless and until Don or the players choose to make the internal discussions public, I'll keep them private," Steve Fehr said.
Daly said the League has no choice but to start thinking about cancelling early regular-season games.
"Obviously as the calendar ticks along and we get into October we're obviously going to have to start making those decisions," Daly said.
The NHL has already canceled the preseason schedule. Opening night for the 2012-13 regular season is Oct. 11.
Steve Fehr added that progress was made on the issues that were discussed Sunday, calling it a productive day.
"I would say that it's good we're talking," Steve Fehr said, referring to the past three days of meetings. "It is true that we could have done this last week or the week before or the week before that, but it's a lot better than doing it three weeks from now. So, I think it's some progress and hopefully it will continue."
The sides will remain in contact and decide when to meet again after holding internal discussions.
"We covered a lot of things over the last three days and we each have a lot of homework projects to do and things to get together, drafts we owe each other on certain things," Daly said. "We think [Monday] is best served by using it for that purpose."
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