NEW YORK — NHL labor talks broke off soon after they resumed Wednesday, with players maintaining their new proposal was a huge economic concession and commissioner Gary Bettman pretty much saying the only deal he will agree to is the one management proposed last month.
On the 67th day of a lockout that already has wiped out more than a quarter of the regular season, the sides headed home for Thanksgiving with no end in sight to the sport’s fourth work stoppage. The union’s negotiating committee planned to brief players and get back in touch with management on Friday.
“We’re dealing with a union that really isn’t trying to negotiate, make any deal that we can live with for the long-term health of this game,” Bettman said outside the league’s Manhattan office. “We’re hoping that with the passage of time, the players’ association will come to realize that what we have proposed has been more than fair. And the fact that we’re keeping this proposal on the table, when it was contingent on an 82-game season, should be evidence of our desire to get this done the right way.”
Players made what both sides called a “comprehensive proposal.”
Union head Donald Fehr said the sides were $182 million apart in a five-year deal, which comes to $1.2 million annually for each of the 30 teams.
“On the big things there was, as of today, no reciprocity in any meaningful sense,” Fehr said.
“A lot of the people that were there today, given the response we got, thought they had a lot better things to do on the night before Thanksgiving than hear what we got,” he said.
The league has canceled 326 games through Nov. 30 with more cancellations on the way including the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 in Ann Arbor, Mich.