SBJ/January 24 - 30, 2005/Labor Agents

NHL, players hold last-ditch labor talks

The NHL and NHLPA held talks last week without their respective leaders, Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow, in a last-ditch effort to save a season that appears to be on the brink of cancellation.

The lockout, which began Sept. 15, has now erased more than half the season, 662 of 1,230 scheduled regular-season games.

Bettman and Goodenow sat out last week’s informal bargaining session in hopes that more progress could be made in their absence. While both have denied that personal animosity between them has played any role in the league’s labor strife, NHLPA President Trevor Linden, who plays for the Vancouver Canucks, suggested the sides meet one more time and without Goodenow and Bettman. Linden was joined on the player side by NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin and outside counsel John McCambridge. The league was represented by executive vice president Bill Daly, co-owner Harley Hotchkiss of the Calgary Flames and attorney Bob Batterman.

The sides met on Wednesday in Chicago and the next day in Toronto. A published report said the players floated the idea of an economic system that would not include a salary cap for at least three years, but in which a salary cap would then be instituted if the new system wasn’t effective in curtailing salaries.

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