Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Wild center part of NHL-NHLPA session

Posted by: Michael Russo under Fighting, Wild off-season news Updated: September 7, 2012 - 2:48 PM

Center Zenon Konopka, the first free agent signed by the Wild during this summer's spending spree, is one of three players in New York today taking part in meetings between leadership of the NHL and the Players' Association.

With eight days to go before the league might lock out the players for the second time in eight years, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly met with NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr and his brother, Steve.

The talks were described as informal, but they met for two hours - longer than most official bargaining sessions -- and are expected to meet again today at 5:30 ET, Konopka confirmed via text.

Last Friday, negotiations between the two sides stalled as they work to try to come up with a new collective bargaining agreement by Sept. 15.

Wild training camp and 29 others won't open Sept. 21 as scheduled without one.

Among other things, the NHL is trying to decrease the share of hockey related revenue the players receive from 57 percent and want players to take reductions in salaries over a three-year window.

Konopka signed a two-year deal worth $925,000 a year July 1. He has 92 career fights, a .588 career faceoff winning percentage and is a popular teammate.

The other two players participating in today's meetings are Buffalo's Robyn Regehr and Winnipeg's Ron Hainsey.

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