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Big issue remains on back burner as others hashed out

NEW YORK — The best that can be said about back-to-back days of negotiations between the NHL and the locked-out players association is the sides are still talking and making plans to meet again.

Though core economic issues still weren't on the agenda Saturday when the sides met at the league office, dialogue continued on secondary topics that ultimately will go toward forming a new collective bargaining agreement.

Players association head Donald Fehr and commissioner Gary Bettman held a second round of private talks. While negotiating teams discussed definitions of what makes up hockey-related revenue — the pool of money the sides are trying to figure out how to divide — Fehr and Bettman talked about the differences keeping the sides apart.

"I spent a few minutes with Gary talking about the overall situation, and we agreed to keep in touch," Fehr said. "I am sure we will talk again (today)."

The sides met for about four hours Saturday, and they agreed to meet again today. The agenda likely will include health and safety issues — a topic that made up a chunk of Friday's talks — and miscellaneous legal things such as grievances and players' game-ticket distribution.

Clarifications as to what will fall under the umbrella of hockey-related revenue in the next agreement dominated discussions Saturday. No concrete resolutions were made, and the topic could be revisited today.

"I am not sure if we have identified discrepancies," deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. "I think the nature of what we were trying to do was to create certainty on interpretations we've had over seven years of this (agreement)."

The sides had "a frank exchange of views," union special counsel Steve Fehr. "We each expressed our positions in terms of some potential changes and how we thought the current agreement was working."

Big issue remains on back burner as others hashed out 09/29/12 [Last modified: Saturday, September 29, 2012 7:34pm]
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