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NHL labor talks will resume Wednesday

The SportsXchange

The NHL players union and league officials will come to New York on Wednesday morning to resume contract discussions aimed at avoiding a lockout this weekend, The Globe and Mail, a Canadian national newspaper, reported Tuesday.

This will be the first time since Friday that the NHL Players Association and the NHL have met to try negotiate a settlement for a new collective bargaining agreement.

About 300 players and 29 members of the board of governors are expected to attend meetings Wednesday and Thursday in New York, according to the report.

NHL's labor contract expires at midnight Saturday night, and if a lockout occurs, it would be the league's fourth work stoppage since 1992.

NHL training camps are scheduled to open next Friday, and regular season begins Oct. 11.

The league's current proposal calls for the players' take from revenues be cut from 57 percent to 46 percent. The players union has proposed the players' take be between 52 and 54 percent over the next three years and rising in the fourth.

A possible lockout has led to other developments.

Russia's Continental Hockey League (KHL) released rules for its teams if it signs locked-out NHL players, the Globe and Mail reported.

KHL teams will be allowed to pay only 65 percent of a player's NHL salary. Teams based in Russia could sign only one "foreign" locked-out player, and all contracts would have a clause allowing the players to leave if the lockout ends.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby told reporters Tuesday he will consider playing in Europe if the lockout is prolonged.

Also, the New York Times reported the players union is trying some legal maneuvering to prevent teams in several Canadian provinces from locking out NHL players.

The crux of the issue, according to the Times, is that labor law in the United States is federal in nature. In Canada, labor law varies from province to province. The union is uncertified in Quebec, and under that province's labor laws, workers not represented by a certified union cannot be locked out.

If successful, the legal effort could result in the Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames having to pay their players and allow them to practice at team facilities, while the players for other teams would still be locked out.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly admitted to the Times that those maneuvers could influence the league's ability call a lockout in those provinces.

"What I'd say is, it doesn't concern us, and certainly would have no impact on the league-wide negotiation and the ultimate deal we end up agreeing to. It's a sideshow," he told the Times.
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