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Adams, Crosby may skip labor meeting

| Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, 6:53 p.m.

Sidney Crosby is returning to Consol Energy Center on Tuesday, but only to see Madonna.

The NHL lockout hits Day 52 on Tuesday, though a group negotiation meeting between the league and its Players' Association is scheduled for somewhere in New York City.

A series of meetings Saturday between deputy commissioner Bill Daly and union special counsel Steve Fehr sparked this session.

“Both sides feel it's important to step it up and meet in larger groups — so that's a good sign,” Penguins union rep Craig Adams said Monday after a players-organized practice at Southpointe.

“Clearly, there's a feeling there is some traction there ... and it's worth pursuing.”

Fehr agreed Sunday with Daly's assessment that their meeting included “frank discussion on the most important issues separating us.” Adams, on Monday, said those issues as revenue division, salary-cap calculation and escrow.

“But there are a lot of other big issues, too — in the player contracting department,” he said.

Adams said he was “looking into flights to New York,” but had not committed to attending the Tuesday meeting. Penguins teammates at Southpointe on Monday — Crosby, Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz — said their plan was to practice again Tuesday and not attend the New York meeting.

Crosby, who along with Adams attended the last group negotiating session between the NHL and NHLPA in Toronto on Oct. 18, said he was unsure “who's invited.”

Thus, he invited teammates and their significant others to join him in a private suite at Consol Energy Center for the Madonna concert.

“You don't want to read into anything,” Crosby said of the Tuesday meeting.

The NHLPA held a negotiation committee conference call at 4 p.m. Monday, though players downplayed its significance.

“There are updates when updates need to happen,” Cooke said. “That's all the call is about.”

Cooke returned to practice after leaving a workout Friday because of a facial wound. He said players did not pay attention to weekend speculation within the media that the NHL would propose an offer to split revenue evenly and immediately guarantee current contracts.

The NHL has not divulged details on any alterations to the “make whole” portion of its last offer, made Oct. 16. The union viewed that offer, which called for an immediate 50/50 split of revenue, as unacceptable because players believed down-the-road payments of current guaranteed contracts would ultimately count against potential future earnings.

The meeting Tuesday would not produce a labor agreement, Adams said.

“I don't think we're at that point where 24 hours will be enough,” he said.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rrossi@tribweb.com or 412-380-5635.

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