NHL Lockout 2012: Talks Start Again As League Cancels Pre-Season

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NHL LOCKOUT 2012
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. The league said it would cancel the rest of the pre-season but resume talks on Friday. | AP

The NHL's collective bargaining talks are set to restart with a session that is likely to run through the weekend.

And with the league announcing the cancellation of the remainder of the pre-season on Thursday, negotiations will have to pick up steam to prevent the loss of meaningful games.

The league and NHL Players' Association have blocked off Friday, Saturday and Sunday for meetings in New York after spending more than two weeks away from the bargaining table.

The talks resume with the scheduled Oct. 11 start to the regular season drawing near. A deal would likely have to be struck by the middle of next week in order for the league to avoid the cancellation of games that count in the standings.

The NHL and NHLPA last met for formal negotiations on Sept. 12 — three days before the lockout was enacted — and exchanged proposals on the economics that govern the sport. Both of those offers have since expired.

As part of their decision to resume negotiations, the sides agreed to revisit the secondary issues that will have to be ironed out in the new CBA. Those include, but aren't limited to, grievance procedures, travel, medical care, and pensions and benefits.

There was a small hint of optimism in the air with talks set to resume. On Monday, deputy commissioner Bill Daly told reporters he wanted the reopening of talks to happen this week.

"Obviously, we've got to talk before you can get a deal, so I think it's important to get the talks going again," said Daly. "But you also have to have something to say. I think it's fair to say we feel like we need to hear from the players' association in a meaningful way because I don't think that they've really moved off their initial proposal, which was made more than a month ago now."

A source indicated that the union wasn't planning to head back to the bargaining table with a proposal in hand.

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