The NHL and the players' union returned to the negotiating table Friday and were able to agree on issues regarding player safety and drug testing. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman participated in the discussions, though union leader Donald Fehr was not in attendance. The money issue was not broached, but NHLPA special assistant Mathieu Schneider is hopeful that the progress made Friday will lead to bigger things:
"In general, when you're dealing with collective bargaining, when you start to have agreements on smaller issues, it can lead to bigger issues, but it's still too early to say."
This was the first time the two sides had met since Sept. 16. They are also expected to meet on Saturday and Sunday, when they will discuss other health and safety issues, among other non-economic topics. Fehr is expected to join the meetings at some point.
The NHL has canceled all preseason games, while the regular season -- intact for now -- is scheduled to begin on Oct. 11.