The players, not surprisingly, blame the league. Their contention is that the NHL refuses to negotiate any further.
"The owners made it clear there is no give with respect to their proposals unless the players are willing to take them — this is my phrase, not theirs — down to the comma, then there is nothing to do, that we're past the point of give and take," players' association executive director Donald Fehr said.
If talks do resume, they will probably be in Toronto where the inductions into the Hockey Hall of Fame are taking place.
"One thing (deputy commissioner) Bill Daly and I agree upon is that when the moment is right the deal could be done very quickly," he said. "One days, three days or whatever."
"I hope he's right." Daly replied when asked about what Fehr had to say.
There are three issues that both sides need to be solved, according to Fehr: the split of money, player contract lengths, and who should pay for the damage caused by the lockout.
Player contracts are the biggest of the three issues. The NHL wants to make the following changes to contracts:
- Limit contract length to five years maximum
- Prohibit back-diving; a measure used to circumvent the salary cap
- Make the age for unrestricted free agency 28, or after eight years of playing professionally
- Cut entry-level contracts to two years
- Make salary arbitration an option after five years
"They are not issues that can be traded off." Daly said. "They are all important issues to us. That doesn't mean you can't talk about them and shake them. There is flexibility around the issues we need to achieve but they are not issues that we can walk away from."
MORE ON CBA: Some related links.
- TSN's Bob McKenzie writes that the NHL was angry that their "Make Whole" provision was dismissed suddenly by the NHLPA.
- CBC's Elliote Friedman writes about what the NHL and NHLPA have to do to clear the final hurdles.