NHL, players union continue to talk

Posted: September 29, 2012

Representatives of the NHL and the players association met at the league's New York City headquarters on Friday, trying to find some common ground that will lead to a new collective-bargaining agreement and an end to the lockout.

But while the sides did not discuss the core economic issues, they made some contentious comments after the meeting.

"You can meet all you want, but you can't make them talk about what they don't want to talk about," Bill Daly, one of the league's negotiators, told reporters. "We really need to hear from players that they are ready to compromise on [hockey-related revenues] before we can talk on meaningful issues."

"Bargaining is not ping-pong," said Steve Fehr, representing the players' union, who added that there was no plan to bring forth a new proposal.

Talks Friday revolved around the players' safety and health concerns in the first formal meeting since Sept. 12. Both sides discussed possibly expanding the timetable for drug-testing procedures on players.

In the recently expired agreement, players could be subjected to up to two no-notice tests from the start of training camp until the end of the regular season.

"I don't think we have an issue with drugs and performance-enhancing drugs in our sport," said Mathieu Schneider, the union's special assistant to the executive director. "We're looking at possibly expanding it a little bit to cover maybe the playoffs, maybe the offseason, but other than that, we're in agreement that it's not an issue in our sport."

Schneider said "it's in the players' best interest, as well as the sport's, to close off any possible time during the year when players could use. But, again, we've had I think one positive [test] in our sport, and I don't see it as a problem."

The league has canceled the entire exhibition schedule. The Oct. 11 openers, along with the first few weeks of the regular season, are in jeopardy.

The sides plan to meet again on Saturday and Sunday.

Phantoms get started. The American Hockey League's Adirondack Phantoms will open training camp Saturday at 9 a.m. in Voorhees. The sessions are open to the public and free.

Several players who spent time with the Flyers last season and have two-way contracts will be playing with the Phantoms, including Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn, Eric Wellwood, Zac Rinaldo, and Erik Gustafsson.

Memorial service set. Matthew DiPaolo, a Plymouth Meeting resident who was a former physical therapist for the Flyers, died Tuesday of pancreatic cancer, the club announced.

DiPaolo, 77, became the NHL's first full-time physical therapist when he was hired by the Flyers in 1976. He spent four seasons with the team. A memorial service will be held Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Church on the Mall, Plymouth Meeting.

 


Contact Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @BroadStBull.

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