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Tuesday, February 1, 2005
Updated: February 2, 11:36 AM ET
League's proposal includes $42M salary cap

ESPN.com news services

The NHL and the players' association will hold their next round of labor talks Wednesday afternoon in yet another undisclosed location, believed to be in the New York area.

The league is expected to present a proposal, much of which already has been discussed with NHLPA leaders during informal meetings the last two weeks. The offer will include a salary cap with a minimum of $32 million and a ceiling of $42 million, but likely will not include an individual player cap of $6 million, according to a New York Daily News report. The plan also is expected to require profit sharing, with a 50-50 split of money over a figure to be determined, although speculation has put it at at least $100 million. The league also wants to make salary arbitration a two-way street, giving teams as well as players the right to exercise that option.

Opinions differ as to whether a luxury tax -- a league no-go thus far -- will be discussed. The Daily News reported that the proposal won't include a luxury tax, but former Vancouver Canucks president and general manager Brian Burke told the Toronto Star that the subject will be discussed.

Only Bill Daly, the NHL's chief legal officer, and outside counsel Bob Batterman were expected to represent the league, while NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin and attorney John McCambridge will take part for the players' association.

Trevor Linden, the players' association president, New Jersey Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello, and Harley Hotchkiss, the chairman of the NHL board of governors, are not expected to be part of Wednesday's meeting after sitting in last week.

For the fifth time in two weeks, the sides will meet without commissioner Gary Bettman and union chief Bob Goodenow.

Over the last few days, e-mails were traded and the latest negotiating session was arranged. It was not immediately clear whether the NHL would offer a new proposal when the sides get together. The league hadn't presented one as of Tuesday night.

It will, however, be the first face-to-face talks since last Thursday, when the sides wrapped up a two-day meeting that started in Toronto. The NHL brought up ideas during that session that didn't sit well with the players' association.

If this round of talks doesn't lead to serious negotiations, time will likely run out on the hockey season.

The philosophical differences that existed between the league and the players on Sept. 16 -- the first day of the lockout -- are still present 4½ months later.

Linden, a Canucks center, came up with the idea two weeks ago to hold meetings without Bettman and Goodenow. The hope was that it would spur open discussions and lead to a deal that would save the season from completely slipping away.

Through Tuesday, the 139th day of the lockout, 756 of the 1,230 regular-season games and this year's All-Star game had been canceled.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.