NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says formal negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement with the players' association haven't started.
Bettman said there is contact on a regular basis with the union, and he thinks talks will begin ''sooner rather than later, but we're not there yet.''
The NHL's current CBA is set to expire in September.
Bettman addressed the topic between the first and second periods of Tuesday night's game between Ottawa and Tampa Bay.
Also, Bettman said efforts to find a group to buy the Phoenix Coyotes with the intention of keeping the team in Arizona remains a work in progress.
''There are some very serious people taking a very serious look at it,'' he said.