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NHL labor talks remain stalled

REUTERS
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman gestures in front of NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly (left) as he describes negotiations between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association on Dec. 6, 2012, in New York. (Reuters)

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By Josh Yohe
Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 6:47 p.m.
 

The NHL and Players' Association finally agreed on something Wednesday night: No progress has been made in labor negotiations.

Although league and union members were in the same New Jersey building, the primary figures from each side never met.

Both sides dealt with federal mediators for almost seven hours in what proved to be another fruitless gathering. The sides are expected to speak with mediators again Thursday, though it remains unknown when they will meet again.

Wednesday marked Day 88 of the lockout. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was visibly agitated.

“I don't know if I'm coming back tomorrow,” he said. “I don't have any more to say.”

The split of revenue between the league and players — the biggest issue when the lockout was triggered Sept. 15 — mostly has been decided.

However, the sides still are bickering over topics such as contract length and the length of a new CBA.

Fehr, looking unfazed, simply shrugged when asked for specifics.

“All I'm going to say is that there wasn't any change in position,” he said.

Fehr is pushing for more dialogue but is unsure what the rest of the week will offer. He and commissioner Gary Bettman are aware that a deadline for an agreement is fast approaching if canceling the season is to be avoided.

“It's pretty hard to make an agreement if you aren't meeting,” Fehr said.

Penguins union representative Craig Adams was one of a handful of players to attend the meetings. Sidney Crosby, who attended meetings last week, said recently he was finished appearing at negotiations.

No owners were present; Bettman and Daly represented the league.

“We have nothing new to report,” Daly said.

It is believed Bettman will not allow a season with fewer than 48 games to take place. To accomplish that, the season will have to start in mid-January.

Fehr said the only way legitimate negotiations will resume is with “a joint belief that there is a reasonable chance we can accomplish something.”

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jyohe@tribweb.com.

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