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NHL, union meet in Toronto

| Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, 4:24 p.m.
REUTERS
Donald Fehr, executive director of the National Hockey League Players' Association, speaks at a news conference in New York September 13, 2012. (Reuters)

Top officials for the NHL and Players' Association met Friday in Toronto, although it is unknown if either party presented a new offer for a collective bargaining agreement.

Details of discussions were not made public.

Commissioner Gary Bettman and his deputy, Bill Daly, represented the NHL. Executive director Don Fehr and legal counsel Steve Fehr were present on behalf of the union.

The meeting was not described as a negotiating session.

“We met with the union (Friday) in Toronto,” Daly told The Associated Press in an email. “We are supposed to touch base over the weekend.”

The NHL on Thursday canceled 82 games, including six for the Penguins. Players were locked out by owners when the previous CBA expired Sept. 15.

Daly previously said the union must present a new offer for a deal to be reached — though technically the NHL pulled its last offer when the lockout was enacted.

Penguins union rep Craig Adams said the NHLPA had not decided to make a new proposal but added that players have discussed details of a potential offer.

This lockout, the third in Bettman's term that dates to 1993, is primarily about future division of revenue, which was a record $3.3 billion last season.

The NHL lost the entire 2004-05 season in its last labor dispute. Owners also locked out players for part of the 1994-95 season.

Owners are seeking a greater revenue share after players claimed 57 percent in each of the seven years of the last CBA. Players want to preserve at least 50 percent and ensure all previously signed contracts remain guaranteed at penny on the dollar.

Players are not willing to budge on the guarantee of past contracts, Adams said.

Owners maintain the risk of doing business should be shared by the union as part of new revenue definitions.

The Penguins, for example, are playing in a newer arena and before sellout crowds — but they lost about $200,000 last season, according to Forbes.com.

Time is running out for a full season to be played. The NHL does not believe each team can play 82 games if the season does not begin by early November.

The earliest games can begin is Oct. 25.

Also at risk is the lucrative Winter Classic, scheduled for New Year's Day at Michigan Stadium between Detroit and Toronto.

NBC, the league's national broadcast partner, already has started examining alternate programming possibilities for the classic's Jan. 1 time slot.

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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