As the National Hockey League lockout extended to a 54th day, the league reportedly was considering two proposals from Players Association on Thursday for a new collective bargaining agreement.
The offers hinged on giving the NHL a new revenue-sharing structure and a "make whole" concept to honor existing player contracts, according to ESPN.com.
The league would get a three-year "phase-in" window with "make-whole contracts" in order to reach a 50-50 split in hockey revenues, ESPN.com reported, citing a source.
Key negotiators from both sides, including commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, began meeting at 1 p.m. ET Thursday as talks continued for third consecutive day. The sides hoped to salvage a season as talks were being held at an undisclosed New York City location.
Talks ended Thursday night with both sides breaking the media silence, but neither saying much about the talks, which will resume Friday.
"I'm not going to characterize it except to say as I have before that it's always better when you're meeting than when you're not," Fehr said of the talks.
Commissioner Gary Bettman added later, "I don't know what Don said, but the fact is, we have a lot of work to do and we're working hard."
Regular-season games have already been cancelled through Nov. 30, and it would take 10 days to start the season after an agreement is reached. Hope remains that that a shortened schedule could start by Dec. 1, but real progress must happen soon.
The sides have bargained for more than 20 hours in the past week, including a seven-hour session Tuesday and a five-hour session Wednesday. The talks were rekindled last weekend with a secretive meeting between Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr.
According to Daly, $720 million in hockey revenue has been lost this season, including income from the annual outdoor Winter Classic, which was cancelled last week.