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NEW YORK — On Tuesday, a group of owners and players participated in a lengthy bargaining session in hopes of salvaging the 2012-13 NHL season.
The meetings, which took place at the Westin New York Hotel in Times Square, began at 2 p.m. and ran for more than five hours before the sides broke for dinner. They resumed at approximately 9:30 p.m. The sides parted shortly before midnight. They will continue talks on Wednesday.
Given the nature and length of the meetings, the sides believe they have made progress on solving the lockout, which has whacked nearly three months off the season.
“We had a long day, obviously,” said NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr. “I thought it was a constructive day. We had good dialogue. In some ways, I’d say it might be the best day we’ve had, which isn’t to paint too overly optimistic of a picture. There’s still a lot of work to do and a lot to be done.”
Neither Fehr nor NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly answered any specifics about the meeting’s contents. The owners and players were not available for comment.
“I think everybody is working hard,” Daly said. “Everybody wants to get a deal done. I think that’s encouraging. We look forward to hopefully making more progress tomorrow.”
The meetings between the six owners and 18 players were a result of last week’s failed mediation talks between the NHL and NHLPA. Although mediation did not bring the sides significantly closer, Commissioner Gary Bettman suggested the idea of the owners-players meeting at the time to his counterpart, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.
On Sunday, the NHLPA agreed to the meeting. Neither Bettman nor Fehr attended the meeting, although both were present at the hotel.
Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs Jacobs , who is the chairman of the NHL’s board of governors, was present in the meeting. Jacobs was joined by Calgary’s Murray Edwards. Jacobs and Edwards have participated in previous bargaining sessions. Both are considered hard-liners for the NHL’s cause.
Jacobs and Edwards were joined by Mark Chipman (Winnipeg), Ron Burkle (Pittsburgh), Larry Tanenbaum (Toronto), and Jeff Vinik (Tampa Bay). The latter four had not participated in any previous bargaining.
Ted Leonsis (Washington) and Craig Leipold (Minnesota) had teamed with Jacobs and Edwards to represent owners in meetings prior to Tuesday.
Craig Adams, David Backes, Mike Cammalleri, Sidney Crosby, B.J. Crombeen, Mathieu Darche, Shane Doan, Ron Hainsey, Shawn Horcoff, Jamal Mayers, Manny Malhotra, Andy McDonald, Ryan Miller, George Parros, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis, Jonathan Toews, and Kevin Westgarth were the players. No Bruins attended.
Daly and Steve Fehr participated in the session.
The purpose of the owners-players meeting was to introduce new voices to the process. Bettman, Daly, Jacobs, and league lawyer Bob Batterman, considered the NHL’s four most prominent players in bargaining, had not gained much traction in bargaining sessions with Donald and Steve Fehr, the NHLPA’s executive board, and its negotiating committee.