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NHL labor meeting again in NYC

| Monday, Aug. 27, 2012, 8:06 p.m.

Labor negotiations between the NHL and its Players Association will resume today at the league headquarters in Manhattan.

The current collective bargaining agreement expires in less than three weeks, and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said players will be locked out if a new deal is not in place by Sept. 15.

Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly are slated to attend the meeting today. The NHLPA is scheduled to be represented by executive director Don Fehr and his brother, and union No. 2, Steve.

The sides met for a less than three hours total over two sessions last week, and Bettman said negotiations remain stuck on “fundamental economic issues.”

Bettman seeks a deal with a hockey-related revenue split closer to 50-50 than the current 57-43 split in the favor of players, Penguins NHLPA representative Craig Adams said.

The current split was agreed upon after the NHL locked out players for an entire season (2004-05). The league returned from that dispute with a salary cap and floor, both of which have increased annually because of near capacity league-wide attendance.

Unlike the NFL, NBA and MLB, a vast majority of NHL revenue is generated from ticket sales. Bettman suggested last week that he did not anticipate fan support dwindling if there is another lockout.

The league and union have traded proposals, and many players expect the league to submit another plan at the meeting today. Many peripheral issues have been resolved, Adams said.

“I don't think you can get too emotionally involved or attached to any of these proposals or ideas,” he said.

Adams downplayed a growing sentiment among players' agents that Bettman is less interested in fair deal as opposed to figuratively crushing the NHLPA with a CBA that totally favors owners.

“I hope that's not true,” he said. “I don't think that's true, at least until I see evidence otherwise.”

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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