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Crosby expected to join Pens' contingent at NHLPA meeting

| Friday, Sept. 7, 2012, 4:18 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune Review Penguins captain Sidney Crosby speaks to the media at his locker at Consol Energy Center April 24, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review

Sidney Crosby is expected to be among at least 10 Penguins and more than 200 players at NHLPA executive board meetings Wednesday and Thursday in New York.

Crosby, the Penguins captain, is planning to join defenseman Brooks Orpik as part of the team's contingent, club union representative Craig Adams said Friday after an informal players' workout at Southpointe.

Adams was one of eight players to attend the workout. Also present were fellow forwards Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, James Neal and Eric Tangradi; and defensemen Ben Lovejoy and Matt Niskanen.

Most of the players at the workout have made plans to attend the NHLPA meetings next week, Adams said. He also expressed optimism that progress between the union and NHL could be made before Sept. 15, when the current collective bargaining agreement expires and a lockout will begin.

Informal negotiations were held Friday at the league offices in New York. Talks had been at recess since Aug. 31.

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and his top assistant and brother, Steve Fehr, met for two hours with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his deputy, Bill Daly.

“(We're) trying to find a way to bridge the gap,” Donald Fehr said.

Summer negotiations have taken breaks during weekends. However, with the NHL's lockout deadline nearing, there's a chance the sides will meet Saturday, Fehr said.

Bettman reiterated the NHL “would like to make a deal” but declined to characterize the mood of talks.

“They talked about when they're going to talk about stuff, I guess,” Dupuis said. “As long as they keep talking…”

The central issue preventing a deal remains the union's resistance to a six-year proposal from the NHL that includes a redefinition of hockey-related revenue (HRR) and an eventual 50-50 split between owners and players.

The union prefers HRR continue to be defined under the current terms, though it has agreed to take less than its current 57 percent share of revenue.

The NHL reported a record $3.1 billion in revenues last season.

Also, the union seeks a revenue-sharing program among owners to help struggling teams. Bettman has labeled that issue “a distraction,” insisting that owners “are close” on an agreeable revenue-sharing plan.

The salary cap, adopted after the 2004-05 season lockout, will be part of a new CBA, Bettman said. The league favors a strict cap; the union prefers a looser interpretation.

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

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