Labor meeting would be second in seven days

Updated: March 16, 2005, 9:03 PM ET
SportsTicker

TORONTO- After breaking the silence last week, the NHL and the Players Association apparently are ready to meet again.

According to a report on TSN of Canada's website, the league and union will hold their second labor meeting in seven days Thursday at an undisclosed location.

The sides gathered here Friday for the first time since February 19, three days after commissioner Gary Bettman announced the official cancellation of the 2004-05 season. The 90-minute session reportedly contained nothing more than dialogue as no proposals for a new collective bargaining agreement were exchanged.

The league was represented by Bettman, executive vice president Bill Daly, general counsel David Zimmerman and outside counsel Bob Batterman. Executive director Bob Goodenow, senior director Ted Saskin, associate counsel Ian Pulver and outside counsel John McCambridge participated on behalf of the union.

Bettman undoubtedly would like to have a deal in place in order to save the entry draft, which is scheduled for June 25-26 in Ottawa and features junior superstar Sidney Crosby, who is expected to be selected first overall.

Despite the absence of a proposal during Friday's session, both sides apparently have removed their previous offers from the bargaining table.

In an effort to save the 2004-05 campaign prior to Bettman's announcement on February 16, the league conceded the linking of players' salaries to league revenues and the union backed off its stance against a salary cap. But the sides could not agree on a dollar amount for a cap as the NHL proposed a figure of $42.5 million while the union countered with a $49 million plan.

With neither party willing to give in to the other's request, the NHL became the first major North American sports league to have an entire season canceled due to a labor dispute.

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