Talks Continue as Reported Deadline Nears

National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Players' Association executive directory Bob Goodenow rejoined negotiations between the two sides on a new collective bargaining agreement on Thursday. Their first face-to-face meeting since December 9 lasted from 1:30 PM to nearly 11:00 PM.

Earlier in the day, ESPN reported that an unidentified owner revealed that the league would announce the cancellation of the season either Thursday or Friday. The season has not been cancelled as of yet, with more talks scheduled for Friday.

Joining Bettman were NHL executive vice president Bill Daly and outside counsel Bob Batterman, while Goodenow was accompanied by NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin and outside counsel John McCambridge.

"I don't know why you wouldn't look at it as anything but positive," said a general manager who requested anonymity. "A deal is only going to get done by the two bodies working at it.

The sides have been unable to come to an agreement after over 140 days of the lockout. The NHL insists upon "cost-certainty," what the Players' Association calls an unexceptable salary cap.

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