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NEW YORK — NHL players are just a slap shot away from returning to the Olympics next year.
While a deal hasn't been reached yet between the NHL, the union and the International Ice Hockey Federation, to send the league's players to Sochi, a long meeting Monday pushed the sides much closer to an agreement.
"Things are moving along," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said.
Bettman, union leader Donald Fehr and IIHF President Rene Fasel met for more than five hours Monday at league headquarters to work on a deal that would allow NHL players to compete at the 2014 games in Russia. This would be the fifth Olympics for the NHL.
Not everything has been agreed to and the various sides need to meet internally to sign off on any pact. Still, Bettman called Monday's session a "constructive meeting," adding there are still "some I's to dot and T's to cross."
"I think it's fair to say that we're not quite ready to announce it's done," Bettman said.