New York, NY (Sports Network) - The NHL and the players' association got back
to the bargaining table Friday, with the two sides hoping to bridge the gaps
that have contributed to the ongoing work stoppage.
Mathieu Schneider, special assistant to the NHLPA executive director, said
they discussed health and safety issues, drug testing and training staffs
during the morning session.
"We had good discussions. We had agreements on some things. It was a good
morning," Schneider said. "We've certainly made some headway. A lot of it was
done previous to this morning.
"We have a lot of mutual ground that we found agreement on."
He also said the two sides weren't discussing core economics, which has been a
huge contributor to the lockout. Negotiations continued Friday afternoon, with
sessions likely on Saturday and Sunday.
The league has already canceled the entire preseason, and next week regular-
season games are likely to be on the chopping block. The regular season is
slated to start Oct. 11.
The owners locked out the players when the previous CBA expired at 11:59 p.m.
(ET) on Sept. 15. Friday brought the first formal negotiating session since
the lockout began.
Schneider said the sides agreed to more rigorous drug testing with an
expansion of the time testing is done during the year.
"I don't think we have an issue with drugs and performance-enhancing drugs in
our sport," Schneider said. "We're looking at possibly expanding it a little
bit to cover maybe the playoffs, maybe the offseason. Other than that, we're
in an agreement it's not an issue in our sport."
Schneider confirmed the players' association was open to additional testing.
"I think it's in the players' best interest as well as the sport to close off
any possible time during the year where a player could use (drugs)," said
Schneider. "I don't think anyone sees it as a problem."
Money, specifically revenues earmarked to players, remains at the center of
the controversy. Under the expired CBA, players received 57 percent of hockey
revenue. Owners reportedly want to reduce that number to as low as 47 percent.
The Sports Network