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NHL seeking complete proposal from NHLPA

NEW YORK — The NHL is looking to see everything put in writing.

With frustration building and the lockout dragging, the league met with the NHL Players’ Association on Monday night and requested that the union put all of its desires for the next collective bargaining agreement together into one complete offer.

“It’s our position that we’ve made a couple comprehensive proposals in a row,” said deputy commissioner Bill Daly. “We’d like to know where they are on all of the issues. We asked that they put together a comprehensive proposal for us to consider.”

The sides have been unable to agree on proposed changes to player contract rights and how to share revenue, and will also need to sort out how they pay for the damage of a lockout. While they’ve exchanged ideas verbally in recent weeks, the league doesn’t feel as though it has a complete picture of where the players stand.

Donald Fehr, the NHLPA’s executive director, said he would take the league’s request into consideration and make contact again on Tuesday morning. He think “it’s more likely than not” the sides will then meet for a second straight day.

However, it remains to be seen whether the union is ready to table a full proposal.

“I don’t really know what to expect,” said Daly. “We asked, I certainly hope it’s something they’ll consider. I think that’s something they’re deliberating on.”

The sides have struggled to find a way forward in negotiations. Fehr and commissioner Gary Bettman discussed the possibility of taking a break from talks last week, but Fehr thought it would be best if the sides continued to meet.

After initiating Monday’s session, the union didn’t arrive with a new offer. Instead, Fehr was hoping to engage the league in a discussion on core economics and player contract issues.

“We could have taken a couple weeks off, I suppose,” he said. “It’s hard for me to see how you make an agreement if you aren’t talking and so you talk. Sometimes it doesn’t lead anywhere, perhaps very often it doesn’t lead anywhere, but if you aren’t talking it’s 100 per cent sure it doesn’t lead anywhere.”

It was the first time they sat down together since Nov. 11, when talks broke off after the fifth formal session in six days.

With the labour dispute dragging on, players continued to take public shots at the NHL’s leadership. In an interview on TSN Radio 1050 on Monday afternoon, Florida Panthers forward Kris Versteeg invoked strong language while suggesting Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly should be fired.

“You’ve got to look for the cancers and you’ve got to cut out the cancers,” Versteeg told the radio station. “I think when you look at Bill Daly and Gary Bettman they’ve been looting this game for far too long.”

On Friday, Detroit Red Wings defenceman Ian White told reporters that he thinks Bettman is an “idiot.”

Daly believes those kind of sentiments are only natural at this stage in the process.

“I don’t think either Gary or I take those personally,” he said. “(We) understand there’s a lot of frustration in this process. I’m frustrated in terms of being where we are and not playing hockey.

“I think that’s just human nature.”

Players missed their third paycheques last week and all regular-season games have been wiped off the schedule through Nov. 30. Further cancellations are expected to come off the schedule this week.

 
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