Originally created 05/12/05

More than salary caps discussed in meeting



NEW YORK - For a change, the NHL and the locked-out players' association talked about more than just salary caps Wednesday.

In an unexpected second straight day of labor negotiations, the league and the union branched out into other discussions, such as the potential formation of a competition committee that would be comprised of player and team representatives, NHL chief legal officer Bill Daly said in a statement.

The players' association didn't immediately comment or respond to an e-mail sent by The Associated Press following the ninth bargaining session since commissioner Gary Bettman called off the entire 2004-05 season on Feb. 16.

"Among the topics covered this morning were various accounting issues relating to the calculation of club payroll in the context of a new economic system," Daly said.

So far, no headway has been made on the central issue - the team-by-team salary cap - and the time finally came to talk about other issues that will impact the game once a deal is reached and the NHL is back on the ice.

The NHL made a new offer to the players last Thursday in Toronto, but no progress was reported by either side after talks ended Friday.

That proposal was spawned by a union offer April 4 that contained a hybrid concept, addressing the relationship between player salaries and league revenues. It contained an upper cap of $50 million and a floor of $30 million.

As before, the sides have not come close to an agreement on the values of the caps or how wide a range there should be between the minimums and maximums.

Daly said Wednesday's salary cap discussion centered on lower and upper limits.

The sides will reconvene Thursday morning to talk about annual financial statements from each club and how teams divulge their finances, Daly said.

The league and the union were only scheduled to meet in New York on Tuesday, but the NHL asked players' association representatives to remain in town instead of going to Austria for the world hockey championships.

NHL leaders also postponed their European trip so talks could continue Wednesday and Thursday.

It is not known if negotiations will stretch beyond Thursday, or if members from either side will go to Austria for this weekend's medal round. The sides already planned to meet two days next week, likely in Toronto.

Many NHL players are taking part in the annual world championship tournament, and the United States and Canada both have quarterfinal games scheduled for Thursday.

The travel plans changed Tuesday after a 3½-hour negotiating session.