Reporting Tim Kephart
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SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – Florida Panthers fans holding out hope for a full regular season of games may have run out of hope. The NHL rejected an effort by the NHL Players Association to restart labor talks Tuesday and no more talks have been scheduled to end the owners’ lockout of the players.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has previously said that if an agreement wasn’t reached by Thursday, it would be impossible to play a full regular-season schedule. The NHL rejected three different player offers last week in just minutes and is standing firm on its offer from earlier last week.
“The union has rejected the proposal we made last Tuesday and is not offering another one,” said Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. “We see nothing to be gained at this point by meeting just to meet.”
The lockout is in its 39th day and tensions have been raised in the last week after the NHL allowed club officials a small window to talk directly to players about the league’s most recent collective bargaining agreement offer.
The union wasn’t informed of the window and was not pleased with the NHL, feeling that it was an end-around union leadership.
“No owners are allowed to speak to the media about the bargaining,” said NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr. “It is interesting that they are secretly unleashed to talk to the players about the meetings the players can attend, but owners cannot.”
Both sides have just about agreed on coming to a 50/50 split of hockey-related revenue, but the sticking point is what to do about current contracts. The union wants to ensure that all current contracts are paid in full without affecting future player contracts, according to the Associated Press.
The NHL is no stranger to missing games due to work stoppages. Since 1992, the NHL has lost more than 1,700 games to work stoppages and that is one of the reasons it has fallen far behind the NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball in terms of popularity in the United States.
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