NEW YORK — NHL owners and players were meeting Tuesday afternoon at a Times Square hotel in an unusual session aimed at kick-starting stalled labor talks.
A group of about a half-dozen owners and 18 players got together without two key figures — Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr. The hope is some candid, face-to-face talks will result in a breakthrough.
If the hockey season is going to be saved, a deal needs to be struck soon.
Tuesday marked the 80th day of the lockout. All games through Dec. 14 have already been wiped off the schedule, along with the outdoor Winter Classic on New Year’s Day and All-Star Weekend that was slated for January in Columbus, Ohio.
NHL owners and players have met in big groups. They’ve held smaller sessions. They’re tried federal mediators.
Nothing has worked, so they’re going to try something different.
With the lockout lingering into another week, the NHL labor talks are set to resume Tuesday with six owners and six players scheduled to meet while a couple of key figures remain on the sidelines of the negotiations.
Seeking a breakthrough on the financial issues and player contracting disputes that have stymied the talks at every turn, the league and union completed the details for the unusual bargaining session over the weekend. The meeting will include the small group of owners and players, staff members and counsel on each side, but Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr will not be present.
The NHL announced Sunday that owners Ron Burkle (Pittsburgh Penguins), Mark Chipman (Winnipeg Jets), Murray Edwards (Calgary Flames), Jeremy Jacobs (Boston Bruins), Larry Tanenbaum (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Jeff Vinik (Tampa Bay Lightning) will take part in the talks for the league.
The union will announce its representatives on Tuesday. The Canadian Press News Agency reported Monday that Penguins star Sidney Crosby, Sabres goalie Ryan Miller and Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews are among the players expected to be in New York and could be selected for the meeting.