NEW YORK — On Wednesday, for the second straight day, a group of National Hockey League owners and players gathered at the Westin New York Hotel in Times Square in hopes of solving the lockout.
The group of six owners and 20 players met for more than four hours before breaking for dinner. According to Canadian sports channel TSN, the players presented a proposal to the owners and the league offered a counterproposal.
After returning from dinner, the owners and players continued to meet. The session, the second straight marathon meeting, concluded at approximately 12:45 a.m.
“We had good, candid dialogue,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. “A lot of issues. There continue to be some critical open issues between the two parties. We understand the union should be getting back to us tomorrow on some of those issues.”
Daly declined to answer any questions.
Ron Hainsey, one of the players who has been in regular attendance at previous bargaining sessions, offered a brief statement. Hainsey did not accept any questions.
“We had a series of meetings tonight, very candid discussion,” said Hainsey. “We plan on meeting again tomorrow.”
The owners and players are scheduled to meet for a third straight negotiating session on Thursday in New York.
Throughout Wednesday night, the owners regularly left the negotiations to meet on their own.
As of Wednesday evening, an agreement did not appear imminent. A source familiar with the NHL Players Association’s proceedings noted that the NHL had yet to offer attractive givebacks to the players.
“Still a lot of work to be done,” the source said. “The next 24-48 hours will be crucial.”
Wednesday started with a brief meeting between owners and players. The sides parted, and the owners attended the Board of Governors meeting, at the nearby offices of Proskauer Rose, the law firm that represents the league.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman briefed the group on the state of the lockout.
Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, principal Charlie Jacobs, and president Cam Neely attended.
“As long as you keep talking, there has to be substance,” New Jersey general manager Lou Lamoriello said.
After the meeting, Bettman provided a brief statement but did not answer any questions.
“We are pleased with the process that is ongoing,” Bettman said. “Out of respect for that process, I don’t have anything else to say.”
Wednesday’s session was a continuation of Tuesday’s talks. For the second straight day, Jeremy Jacobs, Murray Edwards, Jeff Vinik, Larry Tanenbaum, Ron Burkle, and Mark Chipman represented the NHL along with deputy commissioner Bill Daly.
The 20 players were Craig Adams, David Backes, Mike Cammalleri, Chris Campoli, Sidney Crosby, B.J. Crombeen, Mathieu Darche, Shane Doan, Hainsey, Shawn Horcoff, Jamal Mayers, Manny Malhotra, Andy McDonald, Ryan Miller, George Parros, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis, Jonathan Toews, Kevin Westgarth, and Dan Winnik.
Neither Bettman nor NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr attended Wednesday’s meeting. They were also absent from Tuesday’s bargaining sessions.
The sides made progress Tuesday. They were encouraged by the dialogue and exchange of ideas. However, no proposals were exchanged.
After Tuesday’s meetings, Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr stood side by side and made brief statements.
“I thought it was a constructive day,” Fehr said. “We had good dialogue. In some ways, I’d say it might be the best day we’ve had, which isn’t to paint too overly optimistic of a picture.
“There’s still a lot of work to do and a lot to be done.”
The lockout has wiped the schedule clean through Dec. 14.