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NHL, players set for another day of talks

– Negotiations between the NHL and the locked-out players’ association ended after nearly six hours Wednesday. Just as they did a night earlier, the sides agreed to get right back to the bargaining table.

Representatives for the owners and players will resume talks today, marking the third straight day they will meet face-to-face. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and union special counsel Steve Fehr also met alone Saturday when in-person talks restarted for the first time since Oct. 18.

The sides met for a total of about 13 hours over Tuesday and Wednesday at an undisclosed location in New York. Neither side offered any details of what was discussed on Wednesday.

“The NHLPA and the NHL met today to discuss many of the key issues,” NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said in a statement. “We look forward to resuming talks (today).”

Daly also was reserved after the talks ended for the day.

“Not providing any specifics on today’s meetings,” Daly said in an email to The Associated Press.

On the 53rd day of the lockout, the sides discussed revenue sharing between teams and held talks on the “make-whole” provision, which involves the payment of player contracts that are already in effect.

Those hot-button topics are scheduled to be on today’s agenda, too.

Eight players were in attendance for Wednesday’s talks, but a handful of players – including Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby – who took part Tuesday left New York to try to avoid an impending storm that brought snow to the area, the union said.

Time is becoming a bigger factor every day a deal isn’t reached.

The lockout, which went into effect Sept. 16 after the previous collective bargaining agreement expired, has already forced the cancellation of 327 regular-season games – including the New Year’s Day outdoor Winter Classic in Michigan.

Whether any of the games that have been called off through Nov. 30 can be rescheduled if an agreement is made soon hasn’t been determined. But the NHL has already said that a full 82-game season won’t be played.

Both sides have made proposals that included a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenues.

The NHL has moved toward the players’ side in the contentious issue of the “make-whole” provision and whose share of the economic pie that money will come from. But work will still need to be done to get an agreement.

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