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NHL Labor Negotiations Reach Another Stalemate

Last week, NHL and its players seemed en route to an end to the protracted lockout that has claimed the first month of the hockey season. After a one-day break following a series of formal discussions this week, the sides got back to business on Sunday.

Less than 90 minutes after talks solely about player-contract issues started, they were over.

The players contend the NHL has dug in on its position and is not willing to negotiate.

”The owners made it clear there is no give with respect to their proposals unless the players are willing to take them – this is my phrase, not theirs – down to the comma, then there is nothing to do, that we’re past the point of give and take,” players’ association executive director Donald Fehr said.

No new plans to talk were made, but Monday wasn’t ruled out. The sides will be in touch, and if they do decide to meet then, those talks will take place in Toronto where leaders from the NHL and the players’ association will be to attend Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.

”The two sides will be talking,” Fehr said. ”I don’t know when we will get back together again. I suspect it won’t be too long, but I don’t have any idea. We’ve indicated to them that when they resume, we’d like it to be in Toronto soon. We’re meeting down here in large part because of the convenience, especially after the hurricane, for the families and staff of the NHL. Now we’d like to get some of our people back to their families, too.”

Getting together hasn’t been a problem recently once tensions thawed a bit after both sides rejected proposals on Oct. 18.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly met with union special counsel Steve Fehr last weekend, and that led to four straight days of talks this week in New York that ended on a sour note Friday night.

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