THE CANADIAN PRESS
NEW YORK -- The NHL and NHL Players' Association plan to meet Monday for the first formal face-to-face collective bargaining session between the two sides since talks broke down on Dec. 6.
The league and NHLPA exchanged more information Sunday on the latest offer from the owners before the union left to meet internally.
Representatives from both sides spoke in person at the league office in the morning as the NHLPA sought clarification on various aspects of the comprehensive proposal tabled earlier this week. It followed a series of conference calls between the two parties on Saturday.
The league's latest offer was emailed from commissioner Gary Bettman to NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr on Thursday night and included movement on contract rules along with the introduction of compliance buyouts for the first time during these negotiations.
It also called for US$300 million in deferred transition payments to the players, something the league had taken off the table when talks broke down over three weeks ago. The sides haven't sat across from one another and bargained since.
Time is running short to save a shortened 48-game season.
As part of the NHL's new proposal, Bettman told the union that an agreement would have to be in place by Jan. 11. That would allow training camps to open Jan. 12 and the puck to be dropped for the season on Jan. 19.
The 106-day lockout has forced the cancellation of 625 games and is now the second longest in league history. In 1994-95, the lockout lasted 103 days before an agreement was reached. The labour dispute that wiped out the entire 2004-05 season spanned 301 days.
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