CBA session breaks up after one hour

calexander@newsobserver.comNovember 12, 2012 

The NHL and NHL Players Association met Sunday, but only briefly and little was accomplished.

The collective bargaining session, held at the NHL’s offices in Manhattan, broke up after only an hour. Both sides agreed on one thing: little or no progress was made in the meeting.

Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHLPA, was blunt in his assessment, telling reporters he did not “see a path to an agreement” on a CBA. Fehr said the two sides could meet again Monday in Toronto.

The league and union held lengthy CBA negotiations Tuesday through Friday in an attempt to end the NHL lockout and get a season started. There was an informal luncheon on Saturday involving NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr.

Sunday’s formal meeting centered on contracting issues. Fehr claimed the league is not willing to budge on any of its contract demands, and said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said the two sides were “past the point of give-and-take.”

Daly later disputed that claim, saying the league has been willing to compromise on 14 of 17 contracting concerns.

The league has proposed limiting contracts to five years and ending front-loaded contracts. The NHL wants unrestricted free agency to begin at age 28 or after eight years of service (it was 27 and seven years under the old CBA.)

Sunday marked the 57th day of the lockout. The league has cancelled 327 games, including the 2013 Winter Classic on New Year’s Day.

Alexander: 919-829-8945

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