Labor talks resume Monday
NEW YORK -- So much for the "moratorium" on talks now that the NHL and NHL Players' Association resumed collective bargaining discussions Monday evening, the first formal negotiating between the two sides in more than a week.
They met at the league office for a little under 2 hours before finishing for the night. The meeting began shortly after 7 p.m. ET as NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and 18 players arrived at the NHL offices in New York.
Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke was in attendance with owners Jeremy Jacobs, Ted Leonsis and Murray Edwards.
The last time the sides sat at the negotiating table was Nov. 11, a short session that ended after less than an hour. The league and the union tried to gain traction on player contracting issues but to no avail.
Details of Monday's agenda remain unclear. The sides have failed to forge common ground on any of the key divisive issues.
Will the NHLPA submit a new proposal or offer any new ideas?
"I have no idea," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said via email.
Daly told numerous media outlets over the weekend that there are no expectations for the meeting and that the union will set the agenda. The meeting was made at the request of the union.
Kris Versteeg will be hoping not only for a new CBA, but the Panthers forward would also like to see Daly and commissioner Gary Bettman step down.
"You've got to cut out the cancers," Versteeg told TSN 1050 Monday, "and I think when you look at Bill Daly and Bettman, they've been polluting this game for far too long."
Versteeg believes the fans have "been left with too many bad tastes in their mouths for too many years."
Bettman, responding to an "idiot" comment from the Red Wings' Ian White, told the Winnipeg Free Press on Sunday: "I love the players. Nobody should think for a moment that I don't. If I didn't I wouldn't do this job. I couldn't do this job. I believe in the players. I don't believe in what's going on right now. It's part of the business of the game. The least attractive part of the game."
Last week, Bettman suggested to Fehr that the sides take a two-week break from discussions. The proposed moratorium -- which, a league source said, was suggested to Fehr after he said he wasn't sure how to proceed in the negotiations -- was not received well by the union or fans.
The lockout already has forced the league to cancel 327 regular-season games, including the Winter Classic, and may result in another canceling of a significant chunk of the schedule soon.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.