New deal could be days away

NEW YORK -- After another 14 hours of talking, there still is no deal in place to end the NHL lockout.

Negotiators from the league and the players' association met for the eighth straight day Monday, marking the 10th consecutive week that talks have been held. The latest round of discussions wrapped up around 9:30 p.m. and more talks were scheduled for Tuesday.

"The process continues," NHL chief legal officer Bill Daly said Monday night.

A new collective bargaining agreement still appears to be close at hand -- perhaps just days away.

"There remain a number of outstanding issues to resolve and a fair bit of legal documentation to get through," players' association senior director Ted Saskin said. "Everyone continues to work hard at this but it remains difficult to predict when we can get through all that remains to be done."

Talks that started on Sunday didn't wrap up until 1:30 a.m. Monday. Daly, Saskin and lawyers from both sides were back at the negotiating table about six hours later.

The NHL executive committee also convened in New York on Monday to get an update on negotiations from Daly and commissioner Gary Bettman.

Once a deal has been worked out, the NHL board of governors will need to approve it, as will the rank and file of the players' association. Until then, the lockout that was imposed by Bettman last Sept. 16 and forced the cancellation of the entire 2004-05 NHL
season goes on.

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 $20 millions.

Player salaries will not exceed 54 percent of league-wide revenues.