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The lockout began Sept. 16 after the collective bargaining agreement expired, and both sides rejected proposals Oct. 18. The belief is that the players’ association has agreed to a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenues, but that division wouldn’t kick in until the third year of the deal.

“Collective bargaining is a process, and it has peaks and valleys and ebbs and flows,” Bettman said. “It is very tough to handicap.”

Revenue sharing and the make-whole provision are major hurdles. Both sides have made proposals that included a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenues. The NHL has moved toward the players’ side in the “make-whole” provision and whose share of the economic pie that money will come from.

Along with the split of hockey-related revenue and other core economic issues, contract lengths, arbitration and free agency also must be agreed upon.

The union accepted a salary cap in the previous labor pact, which wasn’t reached until after the entire 2004-05 season was canceled because of a lockout. The union doesn’t want to absorb the majority of concessions this time after the NHL had record revenue that exceeded $3 billion last season.