NEW YORK -- Negotiators from the NHL and the players'
association met until early Monday morning and planned to return to
the bargaining table just hours later as they inched toward a deal
that would end the lockout.
A source close to the talks told The Associated Press on the
condition of anonymity that there was "still lots to do" and that
discussions would likely stretch past Monday. The sides, which
already met for seven straight days, were scheduled to resume
negotiations in the later morning.
Talks wrapped up for the night at 1:30 a.m.
The NHL's executive committee is also scheduled to convene with
commissioner Gary Bettman on Monday to get an update on the ongoing
Indications from both sides are that a new collective bargaining
agreement is on the verge of being hammered out, which would stop
the lockout that was imposed by Bettman last Sept. 16 and wiped out
the entire 2004-05 NHL season.
There has been a sense of urgency on both sides to get a deal
done now and not put next season in jeopardy.
The sides have met for nine consecutive weeks and have
painstakingly exhausted the finances of all 30 teams in an effort
to figure out how to change the economic landscape of the league.
The new agreement is expected to contain a salary cap with a
ceiling in the upper 30 millions and a minimum in the neighborhood
of the low-to-mid 20s.
Player salaries will not exceed 54 percent of league-wide