Negotiations between league, players continue

CHICAGO -- Small groups of negotiators from the NHL and the
players' association met for 6 hours Wednesday, just days after
reporting progress in full bargaining sessions.

Both sides declined comment after the meeting, as talks are
ongoing this week.

This latest set of discussions that were to resume Thursday
morning, again without commissioner Gary Bettman and union
executive director Bob Goodenow, are focusing on financial,
accounting and economic issues.

The sides are trying to reach a new collective bargaining
agreement with a salary cap.

As has been the case since before the lockout began last
September, the league and the players' association are trying to
find common ground on the idea of a cap. The sides have agreed to
have one, now it's just a matter of agreeing on how it should work
and what the cap should be for each team -- on upper and lower

Working off an April 4 concept offered by the players'
association, the league and union are looking to develop a system
with an upper cap that could move each year depending on revenues.

Last week, the sides met for four straight days in New York.
Tuesday and Wednesday were spent in smaller groups without Bettman
and Goodenow. The respective leaders rejoined the talks for full
bargaining sessions on Thursday and Friday that lasted a combined
22 hours.

The sides are meeting for the fourth straight week and plan to
keep up that kind of schedule until a deal can be worked out.