NHL, union meet, plan to talk

Updated: October 6, 2012, 7:20 PM ET
By Pierre LeBrun | ESPN.com

The NHL and NHLPA met Friday at the union offices in Toronto, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.com via email.

Daly was joined by commissioner Gary Bettman in the meeting with NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and union counsel Steve Fehr. Daly said there was nothing more to report.

During Friday's meeting, the NHL strongly urged the NHLPA to come up with a new proposal, two sources told ESPN.com. In turn, sources said, the NHLPA also asked the league to come up with a new proposal.

Daly and Steve Fehr spoke Saturday and will talk again Sunday to finalize the schedule for talks next week.

It is expected that Donald Fehr and Bettman also will speak by phone at some point this weekend.

NHLPA spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon said any discussions this weekend won't be in person.

The meeting was not announced to the media and comes a day after the NHL canceled the opening two weeks of the regular season.

Unable to work out how to split $3 billion in hockey-related revenues with the players' association, the NHL wiped out 82 games from Oct. 11 through Oct. 24 -- beginning with four on Oct. 11, which would have been the league's opening night.

"We were extremely disappointed to have to make today's announcement," Daly said Thursday in a statement. "The game deserves better, the fans deserve better, and the people who derive income from their connection to the NHL deserve better.

"We remain committed to doing everything in our power to forge an agreement that is fair to the players, fair to the teams and good for our fans. This is not about 'winning' or 'losing' a negotiation. This is about finding a solution that preserves the long-term health and stability of the league and the game. We are committed to getting this done."

The union countered Thursday by saying the NHL forced the lockout instead of letting the season go on as planned.

"The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners," Donald Fehr said in a statement. "If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue.

"A lockout should be the last resort in bargaining, not the strategy of first resort. For nearly 20 years, the owners have elected to lock out the players in an effort to secure massive concessions. Nevertheless, the players remain committed to playing hockey while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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