Owners and players in marathon talks to save season

Wed Nov 7, 2012 8:14am EST
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By Steve Keating

(Reuters) - The National Hockey League (NHL) and players union returned to the bargaining table for nearly eight hours on Tuesday in what is seen as a last ditch effort to hammer out a new labor deal and salvage a season.

Having already canceled hundreds of regular season games along with its showcase event the New Year's day Winter Classic, owners and players' representatives huddled at an undisclosed Manhattan location trying to lay framework for an agreement.

Following the marathon session both sides released statements that they would not comment on the negotiations that would resume on Wednesday.

"With meetings scheduled to resume Wednesday, the league will not characterize the substance or detail of the discussions until their conclusion," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement.

The cancellation on Friday of the Winter Classic appears to have brought a sense of urgency to negotiations that have built a steady momentum.

Following a lengthy private meeting on Saturday between Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr that set the stage for Tuesday's meeting, the big guns were again back at the table with league commissioner Gary Bettman and union executive director Donald Fehr joining the talks.

With the lockout at 52 days and counting, the two sides sat down for the first full bargaining session since October 18

"We're hopeful that we'll start bargaining and we'll continue bargaining until we find a way to make a deal," Donald Fehr told reporters before heading into the talks. "It's very good to be getting back to the table.   Continued...

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly acknowledges the media before the Montreal Canadiens play the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale, Arizona, November 12, 2009. REUTERS/Rick Scuteri