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NHL Players' Union To Talk Things Over

Meeting Is First in Seven-Week Lockout

By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 2, 2004; Page D08

The NHL Players Association will hold a meeting with representatives from each of the 30 teams today in Toronto, the first development of substance since the owners locked out the players on Sept. 15.

The purpose of the gathering is to update the membership on the status of the labor dispute, which is entering its seventh week, according to one player who requested anonymity. To date, 127 total games have been lost because of the lockout and players already have missed three paychecks.

_____ From The Post _____
Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky take part in six-hour meeting between NHL and players' union but no deal is reached.
Commissioner Gary Bettman officially cancels the NHL season.
There is speculation about where the league goes from here and whether it can survive.
Michael Wilbon: There's no question the league and its owners won this particular battle.
The cancellation may work to the Capitals' advantage in time.
Q&A: What's next?

_____ On Our Site _____
Audio: The Post's Thomas Heath discusses the end of the season.
Video: Bettman announces the cancellation of the season.
What's Your Opinion?

_____ Lockout At a Glance _____
NO SEASON: The NHL season was canceled Feb. 16 over a lockout that started before training camps opened last September. It's the first major North American sport to lose an entire season to a labor dispute.
THE REASON: The NHL and the players' association couldn't resolve how to split revenues from the $2 billion industry. The league demanded a salary cap, but by the time the players agreed to that, it was too late to work out how much the cap would be.
WHAT'S NEXT?: The NHL could seek the declaration of an impasse, which allowing it to implement its last offer, open training camps in September and invite players back. The players' association would likely respond with a strike.

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Although the meeting was scheduled a month ago, the timing may be important to the union. In recent days, a handful of players, most of whom are young and earn less than the league average of $1.8 million, have made public comments contrary to the union's position. The players refuse to discuss a hard salary cap; the owners refuse to discuss anything but.

"I think it's great timing, a great chance for everyone to get together and confirm that we are on the same page. I believe that we are," veteran center Todd Marchant, player representative for the Columbus Blue Jackets, told the Canadian Press.

Today's gathering at a Toronto airport hotel is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. and is expected to wrap up around 2 p.m. Expected to attend are members of the players' association executive committee, Executive Director Bob Goodenow, the player representatives and as many as 50 other players.

There have been no bargaining sessions between the sides since Sept. 9, and none are scheduled. If substantial talks do not begin soon, people on both sides expect the lockout to last all season.

On Nov. 17, player agents will meet with the players' association in Chicago to discuss lockout related issues, according to reports by several Canadian media outlets, which have indicated several of the sport's top players representatives, such as Don Meehan, J.P. Barry, Pat Brisson and Don Baizley, plan to attend.

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