NEW YORK -- Members of the negotiating committees from the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players' Association met at the League's office Wednesday for the second of what is expected to be four consecutive days of negotiating sessions toward a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The primary agenda item Wednesday was the League's supplementary discipline process. Several key members of the NHL Player Safety Department, including Senior Vice President of Player Safety and Hockey Operations Brendan Shanahan and Managers Rob Blake and Stephane Quintal, were involved in the negotiating session that dealt with supplementary discipline.
There was also an additional sub-committee session that included discussion on legal matters.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the NHLPA shared some of its ideas for changes to the supplementary discipline process a few weeks back during a negotiating session in Toronto, and the NHL's negotiating committee was able to respond Wednesday with some of its own questions about the Union's presentation and how it would be implemented.
"I think the objectives they have in their changes are objectives that we share," Daly said. "We just believe that the supplementary discipline process is a tough process, but it works fairly well and I'm not sure some of the changes they've proposed would necessarily improve it. But, again, I'm not prejudging that. That's something we have to talk through with them and we come at that with an open mind."
Both Daly and NHLPA Special Assistant to the Executive Director Mathieu Schneider said the discussions on supplementary discipline were lively. Schneider said the supplementary discipline process is an important issue for the players and those who were present in the meeting Wednesday expressed strong opinions.
The players in the meeting were George Parros (Florida Panthers), Rick DiPietro (New York Islanders), Steve Montador (Chicago Blackhawks), JT Wyman (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Ron Hainsey (Winnipeg Jets).
Daly said the players' interest in the supplementary discipline process does not come as a surprise to the NHL's negotiating committee.
"I would suggest that based on what we've heard to this point in the negotiations, and now we've been at this a month-and-a-half, it seems to be an important issue for the players, so it's an important area of discussion," Daly said. "I think it's an important issue for the League; just in terms of player safety on the ice and how we handle those matters is very, very important. So, we share the view that it is an important issue, it needs to be addressed by both sides."
Schneider added, "If you can work through on important issues, especially like supplementary discipline, it paves the way to further discussion."
NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr was returning from a trip to meet with European-based players Wednesday. He is scheduled to rejoin the negotiations Thursday, when it is expected that the discussion on the core economic issues will be revisited.
Daly reiterated Wednesday that the League is still waiting for the Union to make its proposals on the core economic issues. The League made its proposals last month.
Schneider indicated that the PA is in the process of "developing alternate proposals."
"We're missing a key part of the negotiation, which is where they sit on the important economic issues," Daly said. "So, until we hear from them on the important economic issues it's tough for me to forecast what the future might hold."
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