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NHL Rejects Latest Offer, Cancelation of Season Seems Likely

December 6th, 2012 at 8:53 PM
By Tim ODonnell

There was a glimmer of hope after NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr's press conference. Fehr announced that the NHLPA's latest proposal brought the two sides in "complete agreement on dollars." But it apparently wasn't the case. Fehr returned to the podium to announce that the proposal had been rejected.

"I'm disappointed beyond belief," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said.

The owners didn't just reject the proposal, they also pulled some offers off the table. This includes the NHL's "make-whole" provision, which the players had completely accepted in their latest offer. The offer also included an eight year limit on contracts and helped to get rid of front loading contracts.

"The players have gone a very, very long way," Fehr said. "The players have done far and away the lion's share."

"It looks like this is not going to be resolved in the immediate future," Fehr said.

While the players moved on the length of contracts, the NHL still wants to limit them to five years. The league feels so strongly on this that Bill Daly said it will be "the hill we'll die on."

It is not clear when or if the two sides will talk again.

According to Toronto Maple Leafs; owner Larry Tanenbaum, the negotiations starting going downhill on Wednesday.

"The sessions on Tuesday felt cooperative with an air of goodwill," Tanenbaum said in a statement. "I was optimistic and conveyed my optimism to the Board of Governors at our Wednesday meeting. However, when we reconvened with the players on Wednesday afternoon, it was like someone had thrown a switch. The atmosphere had completely changed."

The owners had wanted to get a deal done last night but the players were "shockingly silent" Bettman said.

"I won't be skating any time soon," Martin St. Louis told the Tampa Times' Erik Erlendsson. "We were making progress I guess, and then you get an ultimatum. Tough to take."

While there is no drop dead date when the season will be canceled, Bettman said he can't imagine playing less than a 48-game schedule.

The next step for the players union could be decertification.

It would come as no surprise if soon there is an announcement cancelling the rest of the season. Games are currently canceled through Dec. 14 and the two sides can't seem to agree to anything.

Tags: Bill Daly, Boston, Boston Bruins, Donald Fehr, Gary Bettman, Hockey, Maple Leafs, NHL, NHLPA, Toronto

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