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NHL lockout 2012: Owners, players ready to talk turkey with hopes of reaching deal
“Our position all along has been on the player contracting issues that they become considerably more important to players as the cap becomes limited,” Fehr said.
After turning down a suggestion from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to take a two-week break from negotiations, the union requested another meeting with the league. That produced Monday’s get-together.
“We could’ve taken a couple of weeks off, I suppose,” Fehr said. “It’s hard for me to see how you make an agreement if you aren’t talking, so you talk. Sometimes it doesn’t lead anywhere, and perhaps very often it doesn’t lead anywhere, but if you aren’t talking it’s 100 percent sure it doesn’t lead anywhere.
“They were willing to have the meeting if we said we wanted to meet. That is about as far as I can go.”
“We’re never going to shut down the process,” he said. “If they think there is a reason to meet and we can make progress, we’re happy to meet. That’s what we told them and that’s what led to today’s meeting.”
It was the first bargaining session since Nov. 11, when a busy week of negotiating wrapped up without results. All games through Nov. 30 and the New Year’s Day Winter Classic have been called off. More games — including the All-Star game in Columbus, Ohio — could soon be axed, too.
One area in which the NHL hasn’t budged is in the area of guaranteed money to players. The league wants a percentage split of actual hockey-related revenue instead of a promised dollar amount to players based on projections of how the game will grow.
“If their proposal continues to be a guaranteed amount of player-share dollars, we have told them that that is not a proposal that is acceptable to us or would ever to be acceptable to our owners right now,” Daly said. “If that continues to be where we are, we are a long way apart.”
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