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NHL, Players’ Union Must Address Compensation Issue, Daly Says

The National Hockey League and the players’ association need to address the main issue of players’ compensation in the dispute over a new collective bargaining agreement, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said.

The two sides will meet today to discuss health and player safety issues, Daly said. Yesterday’s session focused on hockey-related revenue issues rather than the economic matters that divide the two sides, he said.

“These meetings are necessary but they’ve been described, I think, as the underbrush,” Daly said yesterday after the second straight day of talks. “Certainly, they are not the main issues that need to be tackled to get a deal.”

The league and the National Hockey League Players’ Association are trying to reach an agreement that will allow the season to open Oct. 11. The preseason has been canceled.

Commissioner Gary Bettman and union Executive Director Donald Fehr are having a private discussion today, the third in three days.

“In general we’re trying to discuss how do we find a way to make an agreement, how do we bridge the gaps on the major issues that are between us -- the kind of things you would hope we would be talking about,” Fehr said.

The NHL locked out its players two weeks ago when a new collective bargaining agreement couldn’t be reached before the Sept. 15 deadline.

It’s the second lockout in the past seven seasons and the third since the 1994-95 campaign, which was shortened to 48 games. In the previous lockout, the 2004-05 season was canceled and the Stanley Cup wasn’t awarded for the first time since 1919.

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