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NHL, union will continue labor talks for 4th straight day

Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHL Players'

Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHL Players' Association, talks to reporters after leaving hockey labor negotiations with the NHL in Toronto. Credit: AP

There weren't any breakthroughs Thursday in the continuing negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA, but they found reasons to meet at least one more day.

After about five hours of discussions at the Manhattan law offices of Proskauer Rose LLP, the firm that represents the league, the sides said they would resume talks on a new collective bargaining agreement Friday, the fourth consecutive day of talks.

On Wednesday, the union offered a proposal outlining their stance on revenue-sharing and the so-called "make-whole" provision on existing contracts, and the league responded Thursday, union executive director Donald Fehr said. But both he and commissioner Gary Bettman declined to discuss specifics of that response in brief media scrums outside the building.

"We have work to do," said Bettman, "and we're working hard. My hope is that we can achieve the goal of getting a long-term, fair agreement in place as quickly as possible. Collective bargaining is a process, it has peaks and valleys and ebbs and flows and it is very tough to handicap."

Said Fehr: "All I can say is we discussed a wide range of topics. I'm not going to characterize [the talks] except to say that it's always better when you're meeting than when you're not." Both sides planned internal meetings Thursday night.

The league was targeting a 50-50 split of revenues in the first year of a new deal; the union is willing to relinquish its 57 percent, but wants the move to 50-50 to come gradually, perhaps by the third year of the deal. The make-whole provision, which honors existing contracts over a period of years, is connected to that.

Three owners, Jeremy Jacobs of the Bruins, Murray Edwards of the Flames and Craig Leipold of the Wild, attended the sessions. Seven players joined Fehr and his staff.

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