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NHL labor talks on hold during quiet weekend

Associated Press Modified: September 9, 2012 at 10:08 pm •  Published: September 9, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — After the first face-to-face meeting in a week between the NHL and the players' association, the sides spent a relatively quiet weekend apart as the clock ticks down toward another potential lockout.

With less than a week remaining before the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players runs out, no new negotiations took place after an informal return to the table Friday.

There was hope that negotiations would resume Saturday or Sunday, but the communication between the sides was limited to phone and email instead.

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, and his top assistant and brother, Steve Fehr, sat down with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly on Friday for a status check after a week of little to no communication. The sides last held formal discussions on the previous Friday, but those ended with Donald Fehr telling reporters the talks were in a "recess."

The current CBA expires Saturday, and Bettman has said the league will lock out the players if a deal isn't reached by then. The preseason schedule is set to begin on Sept. 19, and the regular season is supposed to start on Oct. 11.

The expiring deal has been in place since 2005 following the previous lockout that forced the cancelation of the entire 2004-05 season and playoffs.

Meanwhile, Montreal Canadiens players have hired Montreal-based lawyer Michael Cohen, who sent a cease and desist letter to the team's owners and the NHL on Friday. They claim it would be unlawful for the players to be locked out because the NHLPA isn't certified by the Quebec Labor Board. Under Quebec law, a union must have that certification for an employer to enact a lockout.