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Penguins

Hockey world heads to New York

| Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, 5:01 p.m.

An impressive gathering of important NHL people is set to congregate in New York on Wednesday, including Penguins CEO David Morehouse and his club's captain, Sidney Crosby.

There is little if any chance they will exchange a handshake, let alone engage in actual conversation. This is life currently in the NHL, where employer and employee are on opposite sides of a labor dispute and risk a second work stoppage since 2004.

The NHL will implement a lockout of players if a new collective bargaining agreement is not agreed upon by 11:59 p.m. Saturday.

“I've definitely made sure that I'm aware of everything that is going on,” Crosby said Tuesday from Southpointe, where he and nine Penguins players will skate again Wednesday before heading to the first of two-day union executive board meetings.

Crosby and those teammates, including club union representative Craig Adams, will be joined in New York by fellow Penguins Brooks Orpik and Marc-Andre Fleury — making for 12 of the about 250 NHLPA constituents who will attend the meetings.

The 30 appointed Board of Governors members, including Morehouse, will also meet Wednesday at NHL headquarters.

The state of CBA negotiations will be a primary topic of conversation at both meetings, said respective members of the communications staffs for the NHL and its union.

Top NHLPA executives Don and Steve Fehr will preside over the union meetings. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his deputy, Bill Daly, will oversee the Governors proceedings.

Those four men last negotiated Aug. 31, though they engaged in informal talks last Friday. The sides are scheduled to talk Wednesday prior to their respective meetings.

Adams remained optimistic that a new offer could be presented to the NHL before Saturday.

The scheduled start for training camps is Sept. 21. Regular-season games are slated to begin Oct. 11.

The NHL's latest proposal includes a redefinition of hockey-related revenue, a move toward an eventual 50-50 split of that revenue with players and a salary cap starting at $58 million next season.

The union now receives a 57 percent share of revenues and has rejected a push to redefine HRR, though Fehr said players are willing to give back some of their revenue-split percentage.

The union also favors a revised revenue-sharing program among the 30 NHL clubs, but Bettman has repeatedly said that is “not even an issue” regarding the drafting of a new CBA.

Developments this week have included the inclusion of labor boards in the Canadian provinces. Montreal Canadiens players hired a lawyer to challenge the legality of a lockout in Quebec because the NHLPA is not certified there.

Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges said Monday that similar challenges could be made in provinces such as Alberta, but Daly dismissed that possibility in an email to the Tribune-Review on Tuesday.

“We agreed with (the) union (Monday) that the Alberta Labour Code does not govern (in fact does not apply to) on our ongoing collective bargaining negotiations,” Daly said.

Staff writer Josh Yohe contributed. 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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