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NHL talks continue, so does stalemate
By TOM JONES
Published January 21, 2005
The NHL and its players' association continue to talk, but appear to be making little progress in ending the 127-day lockout.
The sides wrapped up two days of meetings with a 41/2-hour session Thursday in Toronto. That followed a five-hour meeting in Chicago on Wednesday.
"We've had two good days of communication," said Bill Daly, the NHL's executive vice president and chief legal officer. "But we still have very strong philosophical differences. I can't say we're any closer."
Daly said the sides will talk again, but did not say when. They are not expected to meet today because Ted Saskin, senior director of the NHL Players' Association, will be attending his mother's funeral.
Time, though, is running out if the NHL is to avoid becoming the first North American league to cancel an entire season because of a labor dispute.
"We all know time is not an ally," Saskin said. "Our lines of communication are open."
The difference continues to be a salary cap, something the owners want, but the players do not.
"We clearly have some strong differences of opinion," Saskin said.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and union chief Bob Goodenow were not involved in the latest round of talks, which were initiated by union president Trevor Linden.
Union executive committee members Bill Guerin, Bob Boughner, Vincent Damphousse and Trent Klatt flew to Toronto, but did not attend the meeting. The union said they were invited to get an update from Linden. Executive members Daniel Alfredsson, who is playing in Europe, and Arturs Irbe did not make the trip.
There were reports two teams - the Mighty Ducks and Coyotes - told their players to be on standby and that training camps could open within a week. Officials from both teams, however, denied those reports.
The only hope is further talks can find common ground.
"We just continue to work very hard at trying to satisfy both parties," Daly said.
Information from the Associated Press was used in the report.