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NHL labour talks on hold as deadline day looms

A padlock is seen on the gate of a parking lot outside Rogers Arena, the home of the Vancouver Canucks NHL hockey team, in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday September 16, 2012.


Another day ticked by without progress in the NHL's collective bargaining talks.

The league and NHL Players' Association were each holding firm on their most recent proposals Monday and have yet to even make plans to gather for another bargaining session this week. With a Thursday deadline looming to reach an agreement and salvage an 82-game season, the sides appeared to be at odds over how best to proceed.

"[I'm] not sure there is any reason to meet if there is nothing new to say," deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Canadian Press in an e-mail. "Our position was communicated to the union pretty clearly last Tuesday and then again on Thursday.

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"If they have a desire to meet with regard to the proposal we have on the table, they know how to reach us."

The sides touched base by phone over the weekend following a busy few days that saw each of them table new offers. They had been expected to gather in New York at some point this week.

"They say they want a deal but then they say they only want to meet if it is on their terms," said Steve Fehr, the NHLPA's special counsel. "Strange. That is not the way to reach an agreement. Bargaining is give and take — not just take."

Last Tuesday, the NHL proposed a 50-50 split of revenues across the board as part of a deal that would see a full regular season begin on Nov. 2. The union countered Thursday with three different proposals, which all moved towards 50-50 over the course of the deal.

The biggest concern for the NHLPA is ensuring all current contracts are honoured in full. The league attempted to address that in its most recent offer, but NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr objected to the "make whole" provision because he felt future players would end up paying the price for current ones.

The 37-day lockout has already seen 135 regular-season games wiped off the calendar. The NHL believes there would be enough time to add them back on and play a full season if an agreement could be reached in time to open abbreviated training camps on Friday.

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