Negotiations bog down as sides dig in on contract issues

Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:40pm EST
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(Reuters) - National Hockey League (NHL) and players' association officials returned to the bargaining table on Sunday but made no breakthrough in settling their long-running, bitter labor dispute.

With both sides digging in on player contract issues, there appeared little hope of resolution to a new collective bargaining agreement that would salvage the season.

"We made it very clear to the players' association these issues are important to us, and unless they are willing to address these issues in a meaningful way or even have a proposal to address them in a meaningful way, I don't know where we go from here," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told reporters in New York after Sunday's hour-long session.

NHL Players' Association executive director Donald Fehr was equally blunt.

"The owners made it clear that there is no give with respect to any of their proposals," Fehr said.

"That unless players are prepared to take -- and this is my phrase, not theirs -- down to the comma, there's nothing to do.

"We're past the point of give and take. (That's) what I am told Gary (NHL commissioner Gary Bettman) said when I was out of the room."

There were no plans for another bargaining session although the sides likely will touch base on Monday before the NHL Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Toronto.

League owners would like to avoid long-term contracts, limiting them to five years, delay free agency until a player turns 28 or plays eight years, have two-year entry deals and limit salary arbitration until after five years of play.   Continued...