Still no sign of play as NHL lockout passes two months

Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:35pm EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The bitter labor dispute between the National Hockey League (NHL) and the players' union shows no sign of thawing.

Now, with Thanksgiving just days away and the North American winter rapidly approaching, time could be running out for the feuding sides to reach an agreement and save the season.

No-one knows exactly when the cutoff point is but the clock is ticking and the financial costs are running into hundreds of millions of dollars with the lockout already more than two months old.

The NHL have already postponed more than 300 games and canceled the showpiece Winter Classic. The league is almost certain to announce another batch of postponements, possibly as early as next week.

There was some hope the two sides might be on the verge of cutting a deal when they held a series of closed-door meetings in New York last week.

But they ended without any significant progress and the rhetoric from both sides remains gloomy.

"I think the process is stalled right now," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told the Los Angeles Times. "We are done with making proposals and we don't have any new ideas."

The Canadian Press reported that the NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman called the players' association (NHLPA) and suggested they take a two-week cooling-off break before resuming talks.

NHLPA counsel Steve Fehr said the players wanted to keep negotiating.   Continued...

The results board at the National Hockey League (NHL) draft lottery is seen in New York July 22, 2005. REUTERS/Bruce Benentt/NHL/Pool