NHL, NHLPA set to discuss core labor issues

| Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, 5:28 p.m.

Talks between the NHL and its locked out players will resume Tuesday in Toronto, and the economic issues dividing the parties will be discussed after weeks of setting them to the side.

Chief among the issues is a division of revenue on a new collective bargaining agreement.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the latest talks will focus on “moving forward” with that point of contention.

Under the old CBA, which expired Sept. 15 (when the lockout began), players received a 57 percent share of revenue. Owners want their share increased, and players are agreeable. But the union prefers a moving scale of percentages.

There are other issues — ranging from escrow percentages, set terms on contracts and expansion — but Penguins union representative Craig Adams said “a lot has been getting done” in meetings between the NHL and NHLPA regarding non-core economic matters.

NHL players, who are paid twice each month, missed their first checks Monday. They also received the first of two escrow payments. Only players that appeared in NHL games last season received escrow payments.

Not all Penguins who began a fifth week of organized workouts at Southpointe are convinced the lockout will last the entire season, as was the case during the 2004-05 campaign. Several players privately predicted NHL games will resume by Thanksgiving.

However, those same players conceded that talks, which have taken place weekly since the lockout was instituted, must soon become actual negotiations.

Ratifying a new CBA would not take long, officials from the NHL and NHLPA said. League general managers are advising coaches to prepare for training camps of about a week, with perhaps no exhibition games.

“I met with our coaches (last) Thursday,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero said. “It was about revising camp. You can only do that so much.

“You talk to other GMs. Everybody knows the same thing about the lockout, which is nothing.”

Daly and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will represent the NHL on Tuesday.

Executive director Don Fehr and general counsel Steve Fehr will attend for the union. These four men are the primary dealmakers for their respective sides.

If no progress is made, the NHL is likely to cancel more games as soon as Thursday.

The league is at least considering bagging an additional four weeks of games.

If a quick deal can be reached, there is belief at least a 72-game season could be played if games begin before late November.

The Penguins' first six games have been canceled, including three regular-season games at Consol Energy Center.

A Penguins' home game is worth approximately $2.1 million to the region, including team revenue, according to a study by VisitPittsburgh, the region's official tourism agency.

Note: Evgeni Malkin scored the game-winning goal and picked up an assist for Metallurg Magnitogorsk in a 3-2 win over Torpedo Niznhy-Novgorod in a KHL contest.

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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