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No headway made on salary-cap issue

NEW YORK -- For a change, the NHL and the locked-out
players' association talked about more than just salary caps
Wednesday.
In an unexpected second straight day of labor negotiations, the
league and the union branched out into other discussions, such as
the potential formation of a competition committee that would be
comprised of player and team representatives, NHL chief legal
officer Bill Daly said in a statement.
The players' association didn't immediately comment or respond
to an e-mail sent by The Associated Press following the ninth
bargaining session since commissioner Gary Bettman called off the
entire 2004-05 season on Feb. 16.
"Among the topics covered this morning were various accounting
issues relating to the calculation of club payroll in the context
of a new economic system," Daly said.
So far, no headway has been made on the central issue -- the
team-by-team salary cap -- and the time finally came to talk about
other issues that will impact the game once a deal is reached and
the NHL is back on the ice.
The NHL made a new offer to the players last Thursday in
Toronto, but no progress was reported by either side after talks
ended Friday.
That proposal was spawned by a union offer April 4 that
contained a hybrid concept, addressing the relationship between
player salaries and league revenues. It contained an upper cap of
$50 million and a floor of $30 million.
As before, the sides have not come close to an agreement on the
values of the caps or how wide a range there should be between the
minimums and maximums.
Daly said Wednesday's salary cap discussion centered on lower
and upper limits.
The sides will reconvene Thursday morning to talk about annual
financial statements from each club and how teams divulge their
finances, Daly said.
The league and the union were only scheduled to meet in New York
on Tuesday, but the NHL asked players' association representatives
to remain in town instead of going to Austria for the world hockey
championships.
NHL leaders also postponed their European trip so talks could
continue Wednesday and Thursday.
It is not known if negotiations will stretch beyond Thursday, or
if members from either side will go to Austria for this weekend's
medal round. The sides already planned to meet two days next week,
likely in Toronto.
Many NHL players are taking part in the annual world
championship tournament, and the United States and Canada both have
quarterfinal games scheduled for Thursday.
The travel plans changed Tuesday after a 3½-hour negotiating
session.