NHL lockout update: CBA talks continue into late Saturday night

Bruce Bennett

Negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA are ongoing Saturday as the sides are tantalizingly close to securing a shortened NHL season but have final details to work out first.

The NHL and NHLPA continue to meet at the union's hotel in New York City on Saturday night, nearly eight hours after the first face-to-face meeting in two days began. Cautious optimism remains that a deal is within reach although there are are still some fine print issues that must be hammered out for a deal to be concluded, even in principle.

Federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh has been given hero status after managing to pull negotiations from the brink of another breakdown, after the NHLPA felt insulted by a "sneaky" change in one of the proposals by the league. After lengthy meetings had appeared to have a deal within sight, talks nearly completely broke down until Beckenbaugh was able to find enough movement on key issues to get the two sides back into the same room once more.

According to Tom Gulitti of The Record, the NHLPA has agreed to a 10-year CBA term with an opt-out clause for both sides after eight years. Among other contested issues there are reports that the NHL has agreed to move off the proposed $60 million cap for 2013-14, while the players have apparently moved down to $64.3 million.

Player pensions continue to be an contested issue as well, although one that has been resolved a few times over the past week. While it appears that both sides are so close to a deal one should be reached relative quickly, such distrust reigns in each corner that neither side may say a deal is completely until ink has been signed to paper.

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