SUN Hockey Pool

Same old song and dance

There was no progress in the NHL labour talks Tuesday in New York, although both the league and...

There was no progress in the NHL labour talks Tuesday in New York, although both the league and players did meet for 6 1/2 hours. (Edmonton Sun File Photo/Walter Tychnowicz)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

NHL talks continue to go nowhere fast.

Beyond that, there was little progress to report after the two sides in the NHL's labour dispute gathered for more than six hours yesterday in New York. The only agreement they came away with was a decision to meet again more frequently in the coming weeks.

The two sides talked yesterday about a floating team-by-team payroll range between $30-$50 million, introduced by the union on April 4. The range would be altered year-by-year depending on the level of league revenues.

But there was serious disagreement on the gap between the two numbers, and the upper limit of the proposed range.

"While we continued to discuss various issues relating to the concept that was introduced at our April 4 meeting, no substantive progress toward a new agreement was made," said NHL VP Bill Daly last night in a statement.

"The parties have agreed to arrange a more aggressive meeting schedule over the next several weeks in an attempt to move the process forward."

Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, according to a source, sparked a heated exchange between both sides when he said the NHLPA's concept did not deliver the linked system his side was looking for -- that player costs do not take up more than 54% of league revenues.

The union responded by saying its concept was not supposed to deliver that figure, or the league's version of "linkage."

"While we discussed many of the issues related to the concept that we introduced at our last meeting, we were unable to make any progress today," NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin said. "I remain concerned that the NHL is not serious about developing new concepts together and remains fixated on measuring all of our proposed concepts against a linked hard-cap system. I fail to see how we can make any progress if the NHL maintains their single-track approach."

Until a deal is in place, the league will look at all options. That means replacement players will be a major source of the discussion at today's NHL board of governors meeting in New York.

"What I've said is that we intend to start in September and we're going to look at our options," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told Rogers Sportsnet. "I've got a board meeting (today). That's something I intend to discuss with (owners) and then I'll be able to answer more questions on that subject tomorrow."


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