Busy October for McCabe?

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

Bryan McCabe yesterday revealed that he is scheduled to become a first-time dad in mid-October.

Will the birth coincide with the beginning of the 2005-06 season ... at least one that is featuring NHL players?

"If the right deal is there to be made, let's hope so," the Maple Leafs player rep said yesterday during a phone interview from Long Island.

"I haven't really heard any specifics from any talks in about two months. But at least they seem to be talking more frequently, which is probably grounds for some optimism."

Negotiations will resume today when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and VP Bill Daly lead the league's contingent in discussions with representatives of the players association in Toronto.

Bettman almost had to scuttle those plans when he received a congressional invitation to appear in Washington and field questions on the issue of steroids. The hearing, originally scheduled for today, now has been postponed, freeing up Bettman to work on making progress in efforts to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement.

Among the ideas thrown around the past couple of months has been a team-by-team floating salary cap/tax. The terminology may still need ironing out, but there are those who feel the two sides may finally be on the same page.

"We hope (today's meeting) will be a positive for the process," Daly said via e-mail yesterday. "But until we are meeting, it will be difficult to tell.

"Hopefully we can continue to discuss the concept first raised in early April to see if it might form the basis of an agreement."

When the two days of scheduled negotiations are completed, Daly and Bettman are scheduled to wing their way to Austria where they will attend the world hockey championship.

"Gary is going in furtherance of our relationship with the (International Ice Hockey Federation)," Daly said. "In a typical season, he is unable to attend because of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and he felt that given the unusual circumstances this year, it provided a good opportunity to attend."


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