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NHL, NHLPA meet again in Toronto

by Adam Kimelman

TORONTO -- Executives and legal counsel from the National Hockey League met with executives, legal counsel and eight players from the National Hockey League Players' Association for more than four hours Friday at the NHLPA's office in ongoing collective bargaining negotiations.

This was the fifth meeting since bargaining commenced June 29 in New York. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr, the executive director of the NHLPA, said the sides plan to meet several times next week.

The current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires Sept. 15.

"I would characterize the meeting as very business-like, similar to the other meetings," Bettman said. "The process moves forward."

The NHL was represented Friday by commissioner Bettman; deputy commissioner Bill Daly; senior vice president of player safety and hockey operations Brendan Shanahan; owners Jeremy Jacobs (Boston) and Craig Leipold (Minnesota); general managers Brian Burke (Toronto) and Jim Rutherford (Carolina); and legal counsel.

The NHLPA was represented by Fehr; Mathieu Schneider, the special assistant to the executive director; and legal counsel. The players in attendance were Chris Campoli, Logan Couture (San Jose), Steve Montador (Chicago), George Parros (Florida), Jeff Skinner (Carolina), Jason Spezza (Ottawa), PK Subban (Montreal) and John Tavares (N.Y. Islanders). Campoli is an unrestricted free agent.

"I think it's fair to say we had a good and a frank exchange of views," Fehr said.

Fehr said Friday's meetings included discussions about both economic and non-economic issues.

"There were a variety of topics discussed -- both economic and not central economic -- having to do with day-to-day working conditions," Fehr said. "But consistent with what we've been doing, I'm not going to describe the specific ones."

Commissioner Bettman also said that the process would not be served by revealing discussion points to the public.

"We're not going to discuss what's going on in the meeting room publicly because I don't think that's constructive to the process," he said.

Commissioner Bettman and Fehr each expressed satisfaction with the pace of the meetings, but each also mentioned that much work remains in the negotiating process.

"Obviously we've got a lot of work to do in a relatively short period of time and I think both sides are working very hard at it," Bettman said.

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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