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League rejects players' proposals

The SportsXchange

The NHL and the Players' Association broke off talks Thursday in Toronto after slightly more than an hour in the latest attempt to resolve their contract dispute.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said the players presented three counterproposals to a 50-50 split on hockey-related revenues that the league offered Tuesday and none were close to acceptable.

"The Players' Association came back and basically made three alternate proposals on the players' share, all variations, to some degree, of the one proposal that they made over the summer and really haven't deviated from since," Bettman said. "And none of the three variations of players' share that they gave us even began to approach 50-50 (revenue split) either at all or for some long period of time, and it's clear that we're not speaking the same language in terms of what they came back to us with."

St. Louis Blues captain David Backes told ESPN.com that the players believed their offer would the two sides a step closer to getting a deal done.

"It's too bad the owners don't feel that way and I fear that we may miss an extended amount of time now," Backes said.

Bettman was discouraged but still remained hopeful that a settlement could be reached in time to play a full 82-game schedule.

"I am concerned based on the proposal that was made today that things are not progressing," Bettman said. "To the contrary, I think the proposal that was made by the Players' Association was in many ways a step backward."

The lockout started Sept. 16 and has wiped out the preseason and the first two weeks of the regular season.

Bettman said no new negotiating sessions are scheduled.

NHL players' union head Donald Fehr met with players after the meeting and scheduled a conference call later Thursday with its negotiating committee and executive board.
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