The NHL and NHL Players' Association met for seven hours Tuesday to discuss a new collective bargaining agreement and plan to meet again Wednesday as talks seem to be ramping up over seven weeks into the lockout.
After NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr met face-to-face in a marathon session at an undisclosed, yet neutral location last Saturday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and 13 players joined them for Tuesday's negotiations at a secret location in New York City. Talks began around 3 p.m. ET and did not conclude until 10:15 p.m.
Neither side made itself available to reporters afterwards as to avoid any sort of media interference or spin -- a stark contrast from previous negotiating sessions -- but Daly did issue a statement confirming that the two parties will meet again Wednesday.
"Collective bargaining negotiations between the National Hockey League and representatives of the National Hockey League's Players' Association recessed tonight at 10:15 pm.," Daly said. "With meetings scheduled to resume Wednesday, the League will not characterize the substance or detail of the discussions until their conclusion."
Before the meeting began, however, Fehr addressed the media regarding the union's position.
"The players' view has always been to keep negotiating until we find a way to get an agreement and you sort of stay at it day by day, so it's very good to be getting back to the table," he said. "And we hope that this time it produces more progress than we've seen in the past, and that we can find a way to make an agreement and to get the game back on the ice as soon as possible.
"We're hopeful that we'll start bargaining and we'll continue bargaining until we find a way to make a deal."
Perhaps the most important topic up for discussion is the "Make Whole" provision, which originally was the league's plan to reimburse players for lost wages by having them receive deferred compensation that came from their own share of hockey-related revenue, or simply put, "players paying players," according to Fehr.
Last week, however, the NHL offered a concession on the provision by agreeing to absorb a share of it.
Yet, Fehr made it clear to reporters Tuesday that figuring out how to honor existing contracts is not the deciding factor in reaching a settlement.
"It doesn't end the matter," Fehr said."There are still other things that are important, but it certainly would matter in and of itself."
According to reports, "Make Whole" was not discussed in depth Tuesday, but will be the primary focus Wednesday.
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