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NHL, NHLPA reconvene CBA negotiations Tuesday

by Corey Masisak

NEW YORK -- Members of the NHL's negotiating committee met Tuesday with representatives from the National Hockey League Players' Association in the first of four days of sessions this week at the League office to work on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The current CBA expires Sept. 15.

There were two breakout sessions Tuesday. The first was on player health and safety, while the other involved "miscellaneous CBA legal issues," according to NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly.

After the four-plus-hour meeting adjourned, Daly and Mathieu Schneider, special assistant to the executive director of the NHLPA, reported noticeable progress was made in both sessions.

"I think both sides have proposals in those areas," Daly said. "For instance, on the miscellaneous side/legal CBA side, we're lining up the proposals and the requests in the various areas. Not as much talking them through yet -- I think we'll get to that [Wednesday]. On the player health and safety issues, I think there is a lot of common ground.

"I think there is kind of a joint goal to make the game as safe as it can be for the players. That is something that we share and we have always shared. We're talking about some protocols in that area, and like I said, a lot of common ground."

Daly said the player health and safety issues center around protocols and infrastructure to deal with safety issues rather than on-ice regulations.

Schneider said, "We got through a lot of smaller issues, and we're going to start to draft some language and exchange that. I thought it was a really good day."

The two sides will reconvene here Wednesday, with more small-group meetings planned.

Three players -- Rick DiPietro of the New York Islanders, Ron Hainsey of the Winnipeg Jets and Steve Montador of the Chicago Blackhawks -- joined the NHLPA's negotiating staff in New York while NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr met with European-based players in Barcelona.

Fehr is expected to join the meetings in New York on Thursday, which is expected to begin the shift in the discussions toward the core economic issues in the CBA negotiations.

Schneider said Tuesday that the NHLPA is "definitely closer" to extending a counter-proposal on the economic issues in response to the League's initial proposal from last month, but did not offer a concrete timeline on when it will occur.

"We have a team of people who are working on it and getting through an awful lot of stuff, an awful lot of papers," Schneider said. "It is an ongoing process."

Daly said that work on the new CBA will continue while the League awaits a proposal from the Union.

"I'm not sure we're in a holding pattern, per se, because we're continuing to meet and we're continuing to hash through the other issues that you need to hash through as part of a Collective Bargaining Agreement," Daly said. "Certainly the sooner we can get that proposal, the better."

Follow Corey Masisak on Twitter at: @cmasisak22

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