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NHL labor talks head into fourth straight day

NEW YORK — The best that can be said about the NHL labor negotiations is that they will continue for a fourth straight day today.

The league and the locked-out players association got back together Thursday — the previously undisclosed location was determined to be the law offices of Proskauer Rose, where commissioner Gary Bettman used to work and which represents the league on legal matters — and the sides accomplished enough over five-plus hours to make plans to meet again today.

After the talks broke up, neither Bettman nor union executive director Donald Fehr would discuss them. Fehr didn't rule out talks stretching into the weekend.

Today is the lockout's 55th day, and this week is considered critical for the season to be saved. Even if an agreement is reached soon, it isn't clear if any of the games that have been called off through Nov. 30 can be rescheduled. The NHL has said a full 82-game season won't be played.

During a second consecutive day of marathon negotiations Wednesday, the union reportedly made an offer on team revenue sharing, in which richer teams would help poorer ones, and a proposal about the "make whole" provision that would guarantee full payment of all existing multiyear player contracts.

An earlier league proposal that immediately cut the players' share of league revenue from last season's 57 percent to 50 percent also reportedly reduced salaries by 12 percent. The league proposed a "make whole" program in which players would be reimbursed over the term of a new labor deal for immediate salary rollbacks. Players objected because the reimbursement would have come out of their revenue share. The league last week indicated it would absorb part of or all the reimbursement, reports said.

Part of the union's proposal Wednesday included a gradual reduction in its share of revenue that would hit 50-50 with the owners in the third year of a deal.

The league responded Thursday to the proposals, but it wasn't clear what the response was. It does still want an immediate 50-50 revenue split, ESPN reported.

NHL labor talks head into fourth straight day 11/08/12 [Last modified: Thursday, November 8, 2012 9:53pm]
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