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Once again, no progress made as NHL, players' union meet twice

The NHL and its players’ union held two fruitless negotiating sessions today.

The four main players in the collective bargaining talks – NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr and union special counsel Steve Fehr – took part in the first meeting. Bettman and Donald Fehr sat out the second chat, which featured seven players at the table.

“We didn’t really move the ball forward that much,” Daly told reporters in New York. “We had no discussion on the major economic issues or system issues, so that continues to be a disappointment from our perspective. Hopefully, we can get to that at some point.”

The puck was supposed to drop on the regular season Thursday, but games are canceled through Oct. 24. Daly said the loss of the preseason and the first two weeks of real games will cost the league $240 million in revenue.

“It’s unfortunate for both of us,” Daly said. “It’s a significant amount of money that the players share in on a significant basis.

“Even more disappointing from our perspective, should be from our collective perspective, is obviously we felt like over the last seven years we built up a lot of momentum in the business. We’ve had a lot of growth. Who knows what a work stoppage like this will do to that momentum.”

The union again noted that the loss of games is not the fault of the players.

“Games are canceled because the clubs chose to institute this lockout and are not backing off from it,” Steve Fehr said in Manhattan. “It’s unfortunate.”

Although the sides likely have seven days to negotiate a deal before more games are canceled, Daly said no timeline has been established.

“I can honestly say I haven’t focused on that,” he told reporters. “We’ve got a little bit of time before we make that next move, but obviously days go by and decisions need to be made.”

The leaders from both sides are expected to talk again Thursday. The league is hopeful the players’ association will make a new proposal.

“We’re encouraging them to make a proposal,” Daly said. “We understand that they’ve been working on some concepts, some ideas. We’ve suggested to them just make the proposal.

“Any movement is better than no movement at all. If we move sideways, hopefully we’d move it forward, but even if we move backward it might be better than where we are now.”

---John Vogl

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

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Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

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Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

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