NHL - NHL and players continue to talk as deadline looms

National Hockey League representatives were pondering the latest proposal from locked out players to end a bitter labor dispute and salvage a season as the clock ticked toward a midnight deadline to dissolve the union.

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"We had a brief meeting and made some responses to the information we received yesterday. The NHL people are looking at it and we'll hear from them when that process is completed," NHL Players Association chief Donald Fehr said as he left the league's Manhattan headquarters.

In the meantime we are going back to the hotel where we are working and will continue to do that."

Asked if the two parties planned any more face-to-face meetings on Wednesday, Fehr replied: "Hope so, but we don't know."

With more than half the season already wiped out, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman having set a Jan. 19 deadline for the puck to drop on a shortened 48-game schedule, the pace of negotiations has picked up.

Contributing to the sense of urgency was a threat by the NHLPA to file a "disclaimer of interest" that would allow the union to dissolve and free individual players to file anti-trust lawsuits against the league.

Fehr gave no indication if the union planned to follow through on its threat and file the disclaimer before the midnight deadline.

"All I will say is that players retain all their options and it's an internal matter," said Fehr.

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