NHL, NHLPA address side issues in New York; counterproposal expected in Toronto next week

National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks to reporters about on going labor talks with the NHL Players Association outside the league's headquarters in New York, Tuesday, July 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

NEW YORK, N.Y. - One day after NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman promised the league would lock out its players if a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was not in place by Sept. 15, representatives from both the NHL and the players' association exuded an air of optimism that the season could start on time.

The league and the NHLPA met for nearly three hours Friday at the NHL offices. The session was centred around hockey issues, specifically an appeals process for supplemental discipline and the lengths of training camps.

"We thought it was a good session," said Winnipeg Jets defenceman Ron Hainsey, who spoke for the NHLPA following the session. "Constructive. We reflected on the whole process. Discipline, ice conditions, training camp, travel."

The league and players have routinely said during the negotiations that the sides have found agreement on many non-core economic issues. However, the lack of an independent appellate process for supplemental discipline is a point of contention for the players. Under the current CBA, only Bettman hears appeals of NHL Senior Vice-President of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan's rulings.

Of course, all of this is secondary to the NHLPA finally submitting a counterproposal to the league's first offer. That is expected to come next week in Toronto.


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