NEW YORK (AP) NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr had a brief conversation during the day and planned to talk again over the weekend to discuss the next steps for bargaining.
Any contact qualifies as good news as the lockout drags on in its third month. Especially since one day earlier NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman suggested to players' association chief Donald Fehr that the sides take a two-week break from discussions.
Staying apart could pose a problem because time has become a major factor. All games through Nov. 30 have already been taken off the schedule, more cancellations are likely within a week, the Winter Classic has been wiped out, the All-Star game is the next big event in jeopardy, and the whole season could be lost, too, in the blink of an eye.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will miss Monday's game at San Francisco because of a concussion. The Bears announced the decision, making Jason Campbell the likely starter against the 49ers.
Star receiver Brandon Marshall said Cutler is getting better, but he also said there's a bigger picture that goes beyond this week's game.
Cutler's status was in question after he sat out the second half of Sunday's loss to Houston. The Bears believe he was injured on a helmet-to-helmet hit by the Texans' Tim Dobbins, who was fined $30,000 by the league, late in the second quarter.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Eagles quarterback Michael Vick will miss Sunday's game vs. the Washington Redskins due to the effects of a concussion.
Rookie Nick Foles, who replaced Vick during the 38-23 loss to Dallas on Sunday, and who practiced with the first team all week, will get his first NFL start in a battle of 3-6 teams fighting to save their seasons.
Philadelphia coach Andy Reid made the announcement at the team's practice facility, confirming a decision that had been in the works since Monday. It was only because Vick had not completed the league-mandated concussion testing earlier in the week, that Reid did not officially rule him out until the team's final practice.
CHICAGO (AP) - Hall of Famer Mike Ditka had a minor stroke.
ESPN's Seth Markman posted on Twitter that the former Chicago Bears coach and player fell ill and will not appear on the network's NFL shows this weekend. Markman wrote that Ditka ``wanted everyone to know he's ok.''
Ditka did not immediately return a message from The Associated Press. He told the Chicago Tribune he was feeling ``good right now and it's not a big deal.'' He was playing cards at a suburban country club when he noticed his hands ``weren't working quite right,'' and he then started having difficulty speaking.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Saint Louis men's basketball coach Rick Majerus will not return to the team because of a serious heart condition.
The 64-year-old Majerus has been undergoing evaluation and treatment in California for ongoing heart trouble and the school announced he was on leave in late August. He and his representatives have requested that the school's department of athletics not provide additional details regarding his health.
Majerus ended the school's 12-year NCAA tournament drought last season with a 26-win team that won its opening game and took top regional seed Michigan State to the wire.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The NCAA ruled UCLA freshman guard Shabazz Muhammad eligible to play, and the star freshman guard is set to make his Bruins debut Monday night.
The NCAA said UCLA's sanctions against Muhammad were sufficient after the school required him to sit out three games and repay $1,600 in impermissible benefits. The NCAA and UCLA found that Muhammad accepted travel and lodging during three unofficial visits to Duke and North Carolina.
Muhammad will be in the lineup when the No. 13 Bruins (3-0) return to action Monday night in New York against Georgetown at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's skyhook has been captured in bronze for future generations of basketball fans.
Staples Center unveiled a nearly 16-foot-tall statue of the top scorer in NBA history, immortalizing Jabbar's famed hook shot alongside statues of fellow Los Angeles Lakers greats Magic Johnson and Jerry West.
The 65-year-old Abdul-Jabbar pronounced himself humbled and grateful during a ceremony attended by numerous NBA greats ranging from Johnson and West to Pat Riley and Elgin Baylor - and even Lakers superfan Jack Nicholson.
NEW YORK (AP) - The busy Toronto Blue Jays struck again with their latest big deal: All-Star game MVP Melky Cabrera is set to join them in his return from a drug suspension.
A person familiar with the negotiations said the free agent outfielder and the Blue Jays have reached agreement on a two-year contract worth $16 million. The deal is pending a physical, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement.
The 28-year-old Cabrera was leading the National League in hitting at .346 for the San Francisco Giants when he drew a 50-game suspension Aug. 15 for a positive testosterone test.
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) - Joey Logano wants an apology from Jeff Gordon, and Clint Bowyer is so angry with Gordon, he won't even discuss the now very public feud.
Meanwhile, on NASCAR's undercard, Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson are racing for the Sprint Cup championship. Keselowski goes into the race Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a 20-point lead over the five-time champion, and needs only to finish 15th or better to win his first Cup title.
He took a big step by qualifying third while Johnson was 10th. The pole went to Logano, who is driving his final race for Joe Gibbs Racing.