Some excerpts from today's early afternoon briefing by Mathieu Schneider, the special assistant to executive director Donald Fehr, following the first bargaining session between the NHL and NHLPA since Sept. 12:
“This morning we tried to tackle health and safety, drug testing, training staffs… we have agreements on some things, it was a good morning…we certainly made some headway. A lot of it was done previous to this morning…I would say that we have a lot of mutual ground that we found agreement on.”
“In general, when you’re dealing with collective bargaining, when you start to have agreements on smaller issues, it can lead to bigger issues, but it’s too early to say… Right now we’re going to take it one step at a time and try come to agreement on as many issues as possible…We’re taking baby steps right now; we’re not really discussing anything about core economics.”
“We’ve had a lot of good discussions on that (drug testing)…I don’t think we have an issue with performance-enhancing drugs in our sport, we’re looking at possibly expanding it a bit, maybe the playoffs, maybe the off-season. I think it’s in the players’ best interest and the sport.”
Donald Fehr was not at the morning session, but was in the afternoon, and could be in the sessions Saturday and Sunday. “We’ve got enough to cover a few days without a doubt,” Schneider said. “We’ll see where it takes us. ’’
At the morning meetings in Manhattan were: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, and Brendan Shanahan, senior VP for player safety. On the NHLPA side: Special counsel Steve Fehr, Jets defenseman Ron Hainsey, Pens forward Craig Adams, Devils goalie Johan Hedberg.