The NHL and NHLPA met until almost 1 a.m. Thursday, and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the NHLPA's Donald Fehr both said there still was a ways to go and work to be done to agree on a CBA.
But the fact the two sides were still negotiating after 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, the union's deadline for using a "disclaimer of interest," meant the league had not been informed of the union's intent to file a disclaimer.
Fehr would not comment on the disclaimer of interest, which would dissolve the union and allow players to pursue antitrust suits against the league. He said only that the players' legal options remain open.
Bettman said the word "disclaimer" had not been "uttered" by anyone during their discussions -- more or less dismissing what the league considers a bargaining ploy by the union.
The players, with an overwhelming majority, voted to authorize the union's executive board to file a disclaimer by Jan. 2. While the deadline has passed, the players could simply vote again and approve another authorization on a disclaimer.
Federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh was a part of the process. Bettman said the use of a mediator was a joint request of both sides and said Beckenbaugh would return Thursday morning when the meetings resume at 10 a.m.
Fehr would not characterize the meeting or the issues discussed in the meeting but told reporters, "The differences between us involve core economic issues that don't involve the (HRR) share."
One unresolved core economic issue could be the salary cap for the 2013-2014 season. The league has proposed reducing the cap to $60 million next season.