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Contract talks expected Thursday after NHL negotiations go late into the night

After a marathon session of talks that ended at approximately 1 a.m. Thursday morning, more negotiations are expected between the NHL and its players Thursday afternoon.

The talks have been described as optimism combined with tension, as the battle continues to strike a deal that could end the NHL lockout.

The talks originally included eighteen players and six owners, although reports indicate recently that number has been dropped to three owners and far few players.

John Shannon of Sportsnet has been following the drama in New York.

“I’ll tell you what I don’t think there was a little bit of tension, I think as the day wore on the tension got to be a big factor in this, and at times there were threats of people walking out,” Shannon said.

“And then we got a new offer on the table and that’s really the big key.”

The new offer, which comes from the owners, means the league will be expecting some answers from the players.

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said “there continues to be some critical open issues between the two parties, and the union should be getting back to us Thursday.”

The two sides are expected to come back together this afternoon to continue the negotiations.

There has been some buzz that in the latest offer a condensed schedule could start on Christmas Day, which would be the first time the NHL played on December 25 since 1971.

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