Gretzky hopes for NHL labor deal by Winter Classic

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The Great One is optimistic about the NHL's labor situation.

Wayne Gretzky says he thinks the league's lockout will end before the showcase Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.

During a question and answer period at a panel discussion on personal finance Monday, Gretzky said "I believe in my heart, maybe because I'm such a big hockey fan, that they will be playing by Jan. 1."

Detroit and Toronto are scheduled to play outdoors at Michigan Stadium to kick off the new year.

Gretzky says he believes "the hard part of their deal was the last negotiations (in 2004) of players agreeing to a salary cap."

Talks to resume Tuesday

NHL labor talks are set to resume Tuesday morning, with discussions focusing on hockey-related revenue and not the core economic issues that continue to divide the two sides in a league-imposed lockout entering its third week.

A person familiar with negotiations said Monday the meeting is scheduled to take place in New York. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the NHL and the NHL Players' Association have not issued an update on talks.

The person added there are no other meetings planned beyond Tuesday.

Negotiators for the league and players will pick up where they left off after Sunday, when they completed three straight days of discussions. The talks focused on secondary issues, such as what should define hockey-related revenue, as well as player health and safety.

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