NHL games canceled to Dec. 30

Updated: December 11, 2012, 12:35 AM ET
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com

The NHL announced Monday that all games have been canceled through Dec. 30.

There already have been 422 regular-season games lost through Dec. 14 because of the lockout, and the latest cuts on Day 86 of the league shutdown claimed an additional 104. The NHL previously called off the New Year's Day Winter Classic, as well as the All-Star Game.

In all, the 526 lost games account for nearly 43 percent of the regular season that had been scheduled to begin Oct. 11.

The league and the NHLPA remain in a stalemate in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, but sources on both sides said late Monday night that talks are set to resume Wednesday. Neither side would divulge a location.

It's possible, for instance, the two sides would meet in a neutral location, away from Toronto, where the NHLPA is headquartered, and New York, where the league's main offices are located.

Daly and his counterpart with the NHLPA, Steve Fehr, met privately last month in an effort to jump-start negotiations.

The two sides met for three consecutive days last week, but to no avail. Multiple marathon sessions involving only players and owners -- no officials except for Daly and Fehr -- were aimed to inject some fresh voices into the negotiating room, but yielded little except for a dramatic breakdown of talks.

Although the league and union had appeared to be making significant progress -- both sides swapped proposals and appeared to make some substantive offers -- discussions went south Thursday night.

The league essentially pulled its most recent offer after the union failed to provide a "yes or no" answer on their three non-negotiable items: five-year contract term limits, a 10-year CBA and compliance on the transition rules.

Instead, the union tried countering with a proposal that was quickly rejected by the league. NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, who portrayed the two sides as close to an agreement earlier Thursday evening, said the union was notified via voicemail message that their offer was "not acceptable."

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman disagreed that a deal was near, then angrily announced the league was rescinding every offer it had put on the table since the start of negotiations.

"I would say it was expected," New York Rangers goalie Martin Biron, the team's union representative, said about the lost games Monday in an email to the AP. "We continue to stand behind Don 100 percent and the work our negotiating committee is doing and working hard to get a deal done."

In an uncharacteristically emotional news conference Thursday, Bettman denied that there was any internal deadline for a deal to be brokered before the entire season would be canceled. However, he did say he did not envision playing any fewer than 48 games.

In 1995, the NHL played 48 games in a lockout-shortened season, which began Jan. 20.

Information from ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun and The Associated Press was used in this report.

Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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