CHICAGO (AP) – Small groups of negotiators from the NHL and the players’ association met for 61/2 hours Wednesday, just days after reporting progress in full bargaining sessions.

Both sides declined comment after the meeting, as talks are ongoing this week.

This latest set of discussions that were to resume Thursday morning, again without commissioner Gary Bettman and union executive director Bob Goodenow, are focusing on financial, accounting and economic issues.

The sides are trying to reach a new collective bargaining agreement with a salary cap.

As has been the case since before the lockout began last September, the league and the players’ association are trying to find common ground on the idea of a cap. The sides have agreed to have one, now it’s just a matter of agreeing on how it should work and what the cap should be for each team – on upper and lower limits.

Working off an April 4 concept offered by the players’ association, the league and union are looking to develop a system with an upper cap that could move each year depending on revenues.

Last week, the sides met for four straight days in New York. Tuesday and Wednesday were spent in smaller groups without Bettman and Goodenow. The respective leaders rejoined the talks for full bargaining sessions on Thursday and Friday that lasted a combined 22 hours.

The sides are meeting for the fourth straight week and plan to keep up that kind of schedule until a deal can be worked out.

AP-ES-05-25-05 2015EDT

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