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NHL talks not expected to cover economics or system issues this week

A nearly-empty hockey stick rack in the Buffalo Sabres locker room in Buffalo, N.Y., Sept. 25, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, David Duprey

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A nearly-empty hockey stick rack in the Buffalo Sabres locker room in Buffalo, N.Y., Sept. 25, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, David Duprey

The two sides in the NHL lockout sit down together in New York today and tomorrow, but NHL and NHL Players' Association are unlikely to discuss economics issues.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Monday that he expects the conversation to cover secondary issues, including "health and safety, medical care, drug testing, rent and mortgage reimbursements (and) grievances."

The lockout is in its fourth week with the two sides still entrenched in their positions on the fundamental issue of how to split up league revenue.

The players have insisted they continue to earn the US$1.871 billion they took home collectively last season while the owners are looking for an immediate reduction in salaries.

The work stoppage has already forced the NHL to cancel the first two weeks of the regular season, a move that wiped 82 games off the schedule and pushed opening night back to Oct. 25.

It's the third time in 18 years a lockout has forced the cancellation of NHL games.

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