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With both sides far apart and little time before the current deal expires at midnight EDT Saturday, the league's board of governors met in New York on Thursday as a group of more than 280 players gathered at a hotel a short distance away.

Following lockouts last year by basketball and football owners, Bettman says hockey management is determined to come away with economic gains, even if it forces the NHL's fourth work stoppage since 1992.

Says Bettman: "Two other leagues - the NBA and the NFL - their players have recognized that in these economic times there is a need to retrench."