In a promising step toward ending the eight-week NHL lockout, deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr said a long private session at an undisclosed site that ran past midnight Saturday was positive and that more meetings are planned this week.
"We had a series of meetings over the course of the day and had a good, frank discussion on the most important issues separating us," Daly said Sunday. "We plan to meet again early in the week."
A few hours later, Fehr responded: "I agree with what Bill said. Hopefully, we can continue the dialogue, expand the group and make steady progress."
The tone was far more cordial than after previous sessions, when each side accused the other of misrepresenting proposals involving two key elements: how to honor existing contracts and eventually reach a 50-50 split of league revenue. The players had been receiving 57 percent under the previous collective-bargaining agreement, which expired Sept. 15.
Union leaders conducted a conference call Sunday to brief players on the developments. It is unclear who will attend the next meeting and when it will take place. RDS, the Canadian French-language channel, reported Sunday that the talks will be in New York.
Before Friday, the league estimated revenue losses of more than $330 million; players have missed two paychecks. If there is an agreement in time for a shortened season to begin Dec. 1, the players will have missed four paydays. It is expected that a week would be needed to allow players to return from overseas and to stage training camps.