NHL owners, players hold talks to end lockout

The NHL and Players' Association representatives plan to meet again on Friday, raising hope that talks aimed at ending the lockout that has idled the league are inching forward.

"We've met with the Players' Association for the last three days and we are planning on meeting again (Friday)," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said after the two sides met for almost five hours on Thursday.

"I am not going to discuss the negotiations or the substance of what we're talking about. I really don't think that would be helpful to the process."

Players' Association executive director Donald Fehr said talks had covered "a wide range of topics."

"I'm not going to characterize (the talks) except to say that it's always better when you're meeting than when you're not," Fehr said.

Owners and players have been deadlocked on how to divide $3.3 billion in revenues since their collective bargaining agreement expired on September 15.

The NHL, which lost the entire 2004-2005 season to a bitter labor dispute, has already canceled the first 326 games scheduled through November 30, along with the Winter Classic outdoor game that was to be held on New Year's Day.

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