Sides to meet for first time since Sept. 9

TORONTO -- When NHL labor negotiations resume this week, both the league and the players' association will be well represented at the bargaining session.

The sides will meet on Thursday for the first time since Sept. 9, one week before the NHL imposed a lockout that reached its 82nd day on Monday.

NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow will be joined by senior director Ted Saskin, associate counsel Ian Pulver, outside counsel John McCambridge and the executive committee of active NHL players -- president Trevor Linden and vice presidents Bob Boughner, Vincent Damphousse, Daniel Alfredsson, Bill Guerin, Trent Klatt and Arturs Irbe.

Commissioner Gary Bettman and executive vice president Bill Daly will be joined on the NHL side by senior vice president and general counsel David Zimmerman, outside counsel Bob Batterman and members from the executive committee -- Calgary Flames part-owner
Harley Hotchkiss (chairman of the board), Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs (chairman of the finance committee), Nashville Predators owner Craig Leopold, Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos and New Jersey Devils CEO and GM Lou Lamoriello.

It's the same group on both sides from the Sept. 9 meeting, missing only Minnesota Wild chairman Bob Naegele. That session ended when the NHL rejected the union's previous offer of a luxury tax-based system.

The union invited the league back to the negotiating table last Thursday with the lure of a new proposal, a work in progress that probably won't be done until Wednesday.

The offer is believed to contain serious concessions from the players but still won't have the "cost certainty" the league is looking for. Bettman wants any new system to have a fixed link
between player costs and league revenues, which the union says is tantamount to a salary cap -- a solution it says it will never accept.

Instead, the union is expected to offer up another payroll tax, this time with more teeth, as well as revenue sharing, changes to the entry-level system, changes to the qualifying offer process and other unnamed givebacks.

Whether it's enough to keep talks going is the question. Daly said last week that the NHL might offer a counterproposal, depending on what the union puts forth first.