Article

NHL lockout talks collapse again

7 December 2012 06:30

The NHL and Players' Association remain no closer to a resolution after talks between the two parties broke down on Thursday.

After two positive days that suggested a new deal was close to being signed, the league rejected the NHLPA's latest offer.

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr had hoped their proposal would bring an end to the dispute, but the league flatly rejected the offer with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman adding that any new offers the league made this week were now off the table.

"I don't know why he did that," an angry Bettman said.

"The take or give or bottom line on all this is: it appears that the union is suggesting because we made substantial movements in certain areas that we're close to a deal.

"But those moves were contingent on the union specifically agreeing on other things, which while the union may have moved towards, didn't agree to.

"I'm disappointed beyond belief that we are where we are tonight."

During the extensive talks this week, the league said it was willing to increase the amount of money paid to the players to US$300 million, which seemed a fair middle ground between the NHL's offer ($211 million) and that of the NHLPA ($393 million).

The league also wanted a 10-year collective bargaining agreement, but the union were only willing to accept eight years with an option to opt out after six.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the offer completely missed the mark.

"We'll stay and re-engage if you agree to the three things that we say are important to us, which is the term of the CBA, term limits of player contracts, which is the hill we will die on, and compliance issues," Daly said.

"And what we got today, quite frankly and disappointingly, missed the mark on all three respects. So for the union to suggest somehow we are close is cherry picking and it's unfortunate."

Fehr was left disappointed by the outcome.

"What can we tell the hockey fans of Canada? You can tell them that it looks like this is not going to be resolved in the immediate future," Fehr said.

"I hope that turns out to be wrong. But that's certainly the message that we have today."

No new talks have yet been scheduled with the possibility of a cancelled season looking increasingly likely.

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