No talks on tap in labor impasse

Updated: September 4, 2012, 4:27 PM ET
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- The NHL and NHL Players Association have not scheduled further talks regarding a new collective bargaining agreement, both sides confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com on Tuesday.

Neither side speculated as to when talks could resume either. Labor negotiations had recessed Friday.

Both the league and the players' union said before the holiday weekend that they are open to resuming discussions should either side have something new to offer -- deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA executive Steve Fehr could pull together a meeting in New York quickly should that happen, but neither camp has picked up the phone.

The league intends to lock out the players if no deal is reached by Sept. 15 -- when the current collective bargaining agreement expires -- and the sides remain at an impasse on the core economic issues.

While the owners have requested the players take a decreased share of revenue, the union is reluctant to consent to anything that will result in an "absolute further reduction in salary."

There is also a gulf between the two sides on how hockey-related revenue should be defined, the importance and implementation of revenue-sharing, and player contracting issues, among other things.

Talks broke down last week after the union countered the league's second proposal with what the NHL found to be an unsatisfactory response. Although the league did not suggest straight salary rollbacks (a primary component in it's initial proposal) in its most recent offer, the proposal was projected by the union to result in a significant increase in escrow. The players suggested a three-year system in which salary growth was limited, with a fourth-year option that would be linked to revenue and potentially allow the players to recoup some of the money.

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said the owners elected to recess at that time, while NHL commissioner Gary Bettman disputed that claim.

Bettman said Fehr's depiction of the events was an "unfair and inaccurate characterization" of what happened.

The standoff between the two sides makes a work stoppage all but certain. The NHL was forced to cancel the 2004-05 season because of a lockout.

Katie Strang covers the Rangers, Islanders and Devils for ESPNNewYork.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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