NHL, players' association meet again

NEW YORK -- The NHL and NHL Players' Association met for 2 hours, 40 minutes at the league offices in Manhattan on Thursday, marking the second formal bargaining session between the sides.

The collective bargaining agreement is set to expire Sept. 15.

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr characterized the discussions as "business-like" but declined to divulge details about the process.

"We had a constructive meeting," Fehr said after leaving the league offices with a contingent that included eight players and several lawyers. "When you're beginning negotiations, you need to have dialogue. You need to see what you have a common understanding about, what you need to flesh out, what you need to discuss further. We did some of that today. We still have groups meeting now, and we're going to reconvene tomorrow morning. That's about all I can say about it."

Joining Fehr at the negotiating table were players John Tavares, Matt Moulson, Rick DiPietro, Manny Malhotra, Ruslan Fedotenko, Kevin Westgarth, Ron Hainsey and B.J. Crombeen.

"It is a business-like start," Fehr said. "There's no other way to put it. The problem is, you hope for the best and you do what you've got to do to try and make an agreement if you can, but I've been out of the predictions business for a very long time."

Reports from the first session last Friday indicated the NHL made its initial presentation about what has happened during the past seven years under the current CBA. It is believed the NHLPA was supposed to make its presentation Thursday, but Fehr declined to confirm the procedural strategy.

"It would not be productive at this point to discuss the precise nature of what is going on at the table," he said. "It couldn't possibly be comprehensive, and it would lead to all kinds of inferences, which probably aren't warranted in all kinds of directions. It is just not productive to do that."