Talks between the NHL and its Players' Association resume Friday, the first meeting since commissioner Gary Bettman made the lockout official nearly two weeks ago. But the two sides aren't planning to stop with a one-day catch-up session. Meetings are scheduled to take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Manhattan and the N.Y. Daily News reported the crux of the conversation will be on "non-core economic issues." In other words, the central focus of the lockout -- splitting of revenue exceeding $3 billion -- is being pushed to the backburner until the two sides can come to agreement on secondary points. The sides last held negotiations Sept. 16. If progress cannot be made on matters unrelated to the financial fight, the lockout could be prolonged and future talks jeopardized. If the two sides agree on issues such as player safety, scheduling and discipline structure, the momentum could lead to another round of talks that put economics on the agenda. The NHL season is scheduled to begin Oct. 11. Preseason games through the end of next week were cancelled and a decision on the remainder of the schedule is expected this weekend.
- Gary Bettman