After a week of talks, the NHL and its players association have drawn close to agreement on several key issues, remaining far apart in just one main area: players' contract rights.
That area remains thorny and could delay an end to the lockout, which reached its 57th day Sunday and concluded with gloomy news briefings from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and union executive director Donald Fehr. The sides remain divided over when players can become eligible for free agency, among other contract issues.
But the sides have made far more progress toward ending the lockout than is widely believed, according to a member of the union delegation. "We're basically there" in several areas, the union delegate said.
Fehr and commissioner Gary Bettman met Sunday at the NHL office in New York along with their deputies for less than two hours. Afterward, the delegations left for Toronto and Monday's Hall of Fame induction ceremony where
Adam Oates, Pavel Bure, Mats Sundin and Joe Sakic will be honored.
Daly told reporters that "contract rights issues are very important to the clubs" and that because of the wide gulf between the two sides on those issues, "I don't know where to go."
Fehr said he didn't "see a path to an agreement" on contract rights.
They are fairly close on the critical issue of honoring existing contracts, the union delegate added.
Under the CBA that expired Sept. 15, players whose
The union delegate characterized the league's stance on player contract issues as "very draconian" and said, "We're very, very far apart" in that area.
The lockout has caused the NHL to call off 327 regular-season games.
Robbie Keane had two goals and an assists, and Los Angeles beat visiting Seattle 3-0 to take a commanding lead in the first leg of the MLS Western Conference finals. The defending champion Galaxy will head to Seattle next Sunday in prime position to earn its third MLS Cup appearance in four years. The Sounders must win by four goals to advance to the franchise's first MLS Cup final.
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic advanced to Monday's title match of the ATP finals in London. Federer, a six-time champion at the season-ending event, beat Andy Murray 7-6 (5), 6-2 in O2 Arena. Djokovic rallied to beat Juan Martin del Potro 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.