The NHL and the players' association met for a third straight day Sunday, and again avoided the troublesome money issues that are fueling the ongoing lockout.
"We did not discuss core economic issues, as was the plan," NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr said after meeting for five hours with the NHL. "We discussed health and safety, drug testing, including more discussion of drug testing, medical care etc. Also a number of things in the CBA legal area of player movements."
The drug policy was a key component of talks Friday when the sides got together for the first time since the NHL imposed the lockout on Sept. 16.
On Saturday, the sides focused on clarifications of definitions of what makes up hockey-related revenue — a pot that exceeded $3 billion.
"It was a productive day. We made some progress in some areas," Fehr said Sunday.
Because of difficulty in finding common ground on how to split that money, the league and union instead concentrated all weekend on secondary issues that will also be included in any new agreement.
"I hate to sound like a broken record, but we need some movement on the economic issues. We need some movement on the system issues," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. "We need them to be scheduled as the subject of a meeting, and right now the union is not prepared to do that."
Negotiations on Sunday were conducted at the league office without NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. They met privately Friday and Saturday, away from the other group negotiations.
There was a thought that talks might continue today, but that doesn't seem likely as the NHL wants to meet internally with its clubs before getting back together with the players' association.