NHL responds to players’ new offer

NEW YORK — The NHL Players’ Association heard responses from the league on a new proposal centering on two key issues Thursday, as bargaining intensified in a third straight day of talks at what had been an unspecified location in Manhattan.

That location turned out to be the offices of Proskauer Rose, the Midtown law firm that has advised the NHL on its strategy of imposing lockouts in labor disputes in 1994, 2004 and earlier this year.

Both Bettman and Donald Fehr, the union’s executive director, said talks would continue Friday, signaling continued progress on Day 54 of the lockout.


Fehr declined to discuss the negotiations but sounded a note of highly guarded optimism.

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‘‘It’s better to be meeting and talking than not,’’ he said.

Bettman expressed a similar sentiment.

‘‘We have work to do, and we’re working hard,’’ he said. ‘‘Hopefully, it leads us to the right place.’’

Officials from both sides refused to characterize the league’s response to the new union proposal, and union officials gave no details on the plan.


But union officials confirmed that their proposal involved revenue sharing among clubs and a make-whole provision, a mechanism that would allow existing contracts to be honored under a lower salary cap. The union has said it will accept a 50-50 split of the league’s overall revenue, down from a 57-43 split under the collective bargaining agreement that expired Sept. 15.

The make-whole issue is seen as the biggest obstacle to a settlement. The union wants existing contracts honored in full, while in past proposals the league has sought to defer payments on such contracts.

Thursday’s session lasted from 1 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., after bargaining sessions totaling more than 13 hours on Tuesday and Wednesday.