Fehr, Bettman hold more talks on NHL lockout
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NEW YORK — NHL Players Association head Donald Fehr and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman held a second round of private talks Saturday in an effort to move closer to an agreement that would end the lockout.
While negotiating teams from the union and the league discussed definitions of what makes up hockey-related revenue — the pool of money the sides are trying to figure out how to split — Fehr and Bettman talked about the differences that are keeping the sides apart.
‘‘I spent a few minutes with Gary talking about the overall situation, and we agreed to keep in touch,’’ Fehr said Saturday outside the NHL’s New York office.
‘‘I am not going to talk about the specifics, but in general we’re trying to discuss, how do we find a way to make an agreement? How do we bridge the gap on the major issues that are between us?’’
The sides met for about four hours. They agreed to meet again Sunday.
They talked for a second straight day on matters separate from the core economic issues that ultimately will have to be hammered out. In the recently expired collective bargaining agreement between the league and the union, the players received a 57 percent share of hockey-related revenue. The NHL wants to cut the number under 50 percent.
The league imposed a lockout Sept. 16, when the previous agreement ran out, and the sides didn’t meet again until Friday.
‘‘Their position on the big stuff has been that a major move consists of changing the players’ share from a reduction of 24 percent to 17½ percent,’’ Fehr said.
‘‘Our initial proposal made a move in their direction. We have amplified that by giving them several different ideas to consider about how to lengthen the agreement to how to be more in line with what they wanted.’’
At least they got back to talking — which hadn’t happened since a few days before the NHL locked out its players.
If a deal isn’t reached soon, regular-season games will be in danger of being lost.
The NHL canceled the entire 2004-05 season because of a lockout that eventually led to the collective bargaining agreement that expired this month.
‘‘The calendar continues to tick along,’’ said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. “I don’t think it can be any more urgent than where we are now.”