TORONTO -- The National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players' Association resumed negotiating toward a new Collective Bargaining Agreement on Tuesday. According to NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr, the main topic of discussion in the largely informational session at the PA's office was player discipline.
The NHL and NHLPA also have negotiating sessions planned for Wednesday and Thursday. The current CBA expires Sept. 15.
"We've had good discussions across the table," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said after the three-hour session. "I think the lines of communication have been good. The 'temperature in the room' has been good. The process continues."
Neither Fehr nor Bettman would elaborate on what was discussed Tuesday, but Fehr also indicated the communication has been good.
"The principal topic was issues relating to discipline and there was a good exchange of views on all kinds of areas," Fehr said. "I think, like a lot of subjects, this is one that will come up in future negotiating sessions. I'm not going to get into the specifics of what was talked about or anything like that at this stage. It wouldn't be productive for the process."
The NHL was represented by Commissioner Bettman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, Senior Executive V.P. of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell, Senior V.P. of Player Safety and Hockey Operations Brendan Shanahan, V.P. of Player Safety and Hockey Operations Damian Echevarrieta, Managers of Player Safety Rob Blake and Stephane Quintal, Carolina President and GM Jim Rutherford, Toronto President and GM Brian Burke, and legal counsel.
The NHLPA was represented by Fehr, Special Assistant to the Executive Director Mathieu Schneider, legal counsel, and 10 players: Matt Beleskey (Ducks), Kevin Bieksa (Canucks), Chris Campoli (unrestricted free agent), David Clarkson (Devils), B.J. Crombeen (Lightning), Jay Harrison (Hurricanes), Steve Montador (Blackhawks), Derek Joslin (Canucks), Kris Versteeg (Panthers) and Daniel Winnik (Ducks).
"It's no secret that [player discipline] is an issue which has sparked a lot of discussion among players and the way we framed it is we want to discuss these issues with the owners and we'll see what comes out of that," Fehr said. "I really don't want to go beyond that at this point."
The NHLPA has yet to table a proposal. Fehr said the NHLPA is still studying and asking questions about the NHL's initial proposal, which was made at the July 13 meeting in Toronto.
"In addition to looking hard at what they have given us and doing our own work, we're going to have to look at that additional information before we get to the stage of making a proposal on their own, making a counter proposal, or doing something else," Fehr said. "So, I really can't tell you yet. I doubt that it would be weeks plural, but could it be two? Yeah, it could be two. Could it be less? Yeah, it could be less. I couldn't tell you."
Commissioner Bettman stressed that the League remains committed to reaching a deal "in the appropriate time frame."
"I'm focused on making a deal, not on what might happen if we don't," Commissioner Bettman said.
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