NEW YORK -- NHL owners and players met into the night on Tuesday for a collective bargaining session that didn't include the leaders of either side.

The 18 players and six owners remained behind closed doors for more than five hours at a midtown Manhattan hotel.

The sides were said to be alternating between large and small group sessions.

Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Ryan Miller, Brad Richards, Shane Doan and Mike Cammalleri were among the players representing the NHLPA.

They sat across from six league owners: Mark Chipman (Winnipeg), Murray Edwards (Calgary), Larry Tanenbaum (Toronto), Jeff Vinik (Tampa Bay), Ron Burkle (Pittsburgh) and Jeremy Jacobs (Boston).

Neither commissioner Gary Bettman nor NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr was part of the meeting.

The unique session was proposed by Bettman after the sides wrapped up two unsuccessful days with U.S. federal mediators last week.

It was originally thought only six players would sit in on the meeting but the NHL said it didn't mind if more came.