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'We want to make a deal': Bettman

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman at a press conference in Toronto on Thursday, August 23, 2012. The...

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman at a press conference in Toronto on Thursday, August 23, 2012. The labour talks with the Players Association will continue in New York next Tuesday. (Veronica Henri/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

Heavyweights from the NHL and the players union renewed talks Friday in New York to try to solve the labour impasse that threatens to bring about a lockout next weekend.

Commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly met at the league offices with NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and his brother/top assistant Steve Fehr.

The talks were labelled "informal" -- what, their tuxedos were at the cleaner? -- but the fact that the suits got together for the first time in a week had to be positive news. "Formal" discussions could resume as early as Saturday.

"Why did we meet? We want to make a deal," Bettman said.

Said Donald Fehr: The two sides "are trying to find a way to bridge the gap."

Negotiations broke down the previous Friday because of a divide on the key economic issues -- namely, who gets the bigger slice of the multimillion-dollar pie that the fans bake for them.

"I know it's difficult when every breath we take is chronicled, but there is an ebb and a flow to collective bargaining negotiation and sometimes it makes sense to get together and sometimes it makes sense to take a breath," Bettman said, adding that the "dialogue never stops, even when we're not formally meeting."

Bettman has said the players will be locked out if there is no agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement by Sept. 15.

PROSPECT SAYS NO TO EUROPE

Canadiens prospect Alex Galchenyuk said if he can't play for Montreal this season he will return to his OHL team in Sarnia.

The 18-year-old centre, drafted third overall in June, said he isn't interested in playing in the KHL -- or in Switzerland or Sweden for the matter.

"No, (I will) definitely stay in Sarnia," he said. "This is the team I want to play (for) if there is a lockout."

If the NHL labour dispute is resolved, Galchenyuk will try to win a spot in the NHL.

DEVILS OWNER SWINGS DEAL

Jeffrey Vanderbeek has worked out a deal with lenders that will allow him to keep majority ownership of the New Jersey Devils for at least two more years, according to a source.

Vanderbeek is paying lenders other than the NHL about $40 million to retire overdue loans and is combining the team and arena debt into one $160-million package, sources told the New York Post.

The deal came together when the NHL agreed to put off repayment off a loan to the Devils for 24 months.

BRIEFLY

Forward Brad Marchand has signed a four-year, $18-million contract extension that will keep him with the Boston Bruins through the 2016-17 season. The contract will average $4.5 million annually. Marchand, 24, had 28 goals and 27 assists in 2011-12, his second full season with the Bruins.


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