Published : 2013-01-03 19:48
Updated : 2013-01-03 19:48
NEW YORK (AP) ― The NHL and the players’ association met deep into Wednesday night after the union made its second counteroffer of the week in an effort to end the season-long lockout.
The second round of talks Wednesday began shortly after 8 p.m. EST and was still going three hours later. The sides also met for about an hour during the afternoon when the union first gave its latest proposal to the league.
Neither side said much regarding Wednesday’s discussions, but it is believed that the pension issue has become a major stumbling block in the negotiations.
Both sides are feeling the pressure of the clock, as the union faced a self-imposed midnight deadline to file a disclaimer of interest. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said a deal must be reached by Jan. 11 for a season to be played.
The union’s proposal Wednesday makes four offers between the sides since the NHL restarted the negotiation process Thursday with a new proposal.
A small group meeting on the pension issue was held Wednesday morning before the players’ association presented its offer.
A deal can’t be done without a resolution on pensions.
The league presented the players with a counteroffer Tuesday night in response to one the union made Monday.
The lockout reached its 109th day Wednesday, and Bettman has said that the league told the union a deal needs to be in place by next week so a 48-game season can begin on Jan. 19.
All games through Jan. 14 along with the All-Star game have been canceled, claiming more than 50 percent of the original schedule.
The players’ association had a few more hours to declare a “disclaimer of interest,” which would dissolve the union and make it a trade association.