'Til we meet again

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:21 AM ET

The NHL and NHL Players' Association have clammed up but it won't stop them from continuing talks in the Big Apple.

Whether another meeting leads to anything constructive in the form of something that might actually salvage a season, well, don't hold your breath.

The two sides will meet again, as the clock continues to tick, following a meeting yesterday in Toronto. It is thought the NHL and NHLPA will re-convene today or tomorrow in New York.

Neither NHL chief legal officer Bill Daly nor NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin addressed the media after the meeting at a secret location concluded at the dinner hour, choosing instead to release short statements.

"We will meet again this week," Daly said. "We have no further comment at this time."

Saskin's statement sounded as though it was written by the same person.

"After meeting (yesterday) we have agreed to continue discussions and will not be making any further comment at this time,"Saskin said.

But have the two sides come closer to agreeing on what is needed in a collective bargaining agreement? It's not overly probable. For that to happen, either the NHL would have to drop its desire for a salary cap or the NHLPA would have to suddenly decide that having its salaries limited is not a bad idea, and there has been no indication that either has happened.

The fact there is another meeting on the docket could leave a sliver of optimism, but the two sides could simply get together one more time to ensure they are so diametrically opposed there could be no chance for a season.

Daly had said no proposal would be made at yesterday's meeting. While the NHL is not expected to come off its stance that a salary cap is needed, it's possible it will propose a soft cap. If a hard cap stays in place, it's difficult to see how the NHLPA would want to keep talking, given its repeated public dismissals of a hard cap.

An interesting wrinkle was added to the meeting yesterday in the form of New Jersey Devils executive Lou Lamoriello. He joined Daly, NHL board of governors chairman Harley Hotchkiss and outside counsel Bob Batterman on the NHL's side. The NHLPA was represented by the same trio -- Saskin, NHLPA president Trevor Linden and outside counsel John McCambridge -- that put on a brave face for meetings last week in Chicago and Toronto.

The owners requested the latest round of meetings, and Lamoriello's involvement, if nothing else, lent a new set of ears and ideas to the proceedings.

Daly paused briefly at a Toronto hotel yesterday morning to tell CBC "We need to get something done quick."

Speculation remains that the NHL could get away with a 30-game season if a settlement is reached. Of the NHL's 1,230 games scheduled this season, 713 have been wiped out.


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