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League, players set to resume lockout talks on Monday

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman smiles during the announcement that the NHL's New York Islanders will move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman smiles during the announcement that the NHL's New York Islanders will move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn

(Reuters) - National Hockey League (NHL) and players' union officials will meet again on Monday in New York in a bid to resolve the bitter two-month-old labor dispute, the league said on Saturday.

Weekend discussions between NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and NHL Players' Association (NHLPA) special counsel Steve Fehr led to the decision, Daly told Reuters via email.

Both Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr are set to join the session, the first between the two groups in a week.

"I expect (a) relatively small (meeting), but Don and Gary and players and owners will both be present," Daly said.

He did not, however, raise hopes for a solution to a new collective bargaining agreement that would end the work stoppage, which has left players locked out by the owners since September 15.

"I have no expectations with respect to the meeting at this point," Daly said, "including with respect to whether any progress toward an agreement can be made."

The meeting comes as speculation rises that the league could cancel more games next week if progress is not made.

Already the NHL has called off all games through November 30 as well as its showcase New Year's Day Winter Classic, costing the league millions of dollars in revenue.

The NHLPA did not respond immediately to questions about Monday's meeting.

"We believe that it is more likely that we will make progress if we meet than if we don't," Steve Fehr said in a statement last week.

The work stoppage is the fourth in 20 years for the NHL, the last wiping out the 2004-5 season.

League owners would like to avoid long-term contracts, limiting them to five years, delay free agency until a player turns 28 or plays eight years, have two-year entry deals and limit salary arbitration until after five years of play.

They also want to reduce the players' share of $3.3 billion in annual revenue to 50 percent from the current 57 percent.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina, editing by Nick Mulvenney)

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