Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Hope for New Year? League Mulls Latest Offer from Nhlpa

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Hope for New Year? League Mulls Latest Offer from Nhlpa

Article excerpt

The year is new.

The situation in the NHL is not.

Talks to forge a collective bargaining agreement to end the dispute that has shut down the league since mid-September resumed Monday in New York, but 2013 begins with the league's players still locked out.

And with no guarantee they will return to work this winter.

Officials of the league and NHL Players' Association met for about three hours Monday, primarily to answer questions the NHL people had about a counteroffer the union submitted at the start of the session.

How that proposal differed from one that the league put forth Thursday isn't known.

The NHL negotiators planned to evaluate the NHLPA offer Monday night, then respond to it when the sides get together again today.

"Their response was a comprehensive one," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters at the meeting site. "We're in the process of reviewing."

He also identified Jan. 11 as the deadline for getting a deal. Previously, the league had made it known that play would have to start no later than Jan. 19 in order to get in a 48-game season, the minimum the NHL is willing to accept.

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr told the media there was "not a lot to say" about what transpired Monday.

The meeting today will take place against the backdrop of a looming deadline, as the NHLPA has until Wednesday to file the disclaimer of interest authorized by its members last month.

That would entail notifying the league that it no longer represents the players, with the goal of having the lockout declared illegal and players being able to take antitrust legal action on an individual basis.

Fehr, predictably, declined to divulge whether the NHLPA is planning to take that step.

The meeting Monday stemmed from the offer the league submitted Thursday in an effort to jump-start the talks.

That move caught many who have observed -- or even been part of - - the negotiations off-guard. One of them was Penguins center Sidney Crosby, who allowed that he was "a little bit surprised" when it happened.

"It's something I'm sure they had some time to think about and I'm glad there are actual negotiations going on," he said. …

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