NHL commissioner Gary Bettman suggested to the players association that the two sides take a two-week break from negotiations.
Bettman reportedly made the recommendation in a phone conversation with NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr according to Canadian media outlet TSN. They've been the power brokers in stagnant negotiations to end a lockout approaching its ninth week.
Fehr reportedly said he would bounce the idea off of his membership before delivering a response.
Steven Fehr, special counsel to the NHLPA, said the idea of a freeze comes at the worst time.
"Of course everyone on the players' side wants to reach an agreement. The players have offered the owners concessions worth about a billion dollars," Steven Fehr said. "What exactly have the owners offered the players? We believe that it is more likely that we will make progress if we meet than if we don't. So we are ready to meet.
"If indeed they do not want to meet, it will be at least the third time in the last three months that they have shut down the dialogue, saying they will not meet unless the players meet their preconditions. What does that tell you about their interest in resolving this?"
Thursday would have been the third pay day of the regular season for NHL players. Steven Fehr said this week that he and Bill Daly, deputy commissioner of the NHL, still agree that a deal could be consummated quickly when the time is right.
The league is likely to cancel more games, adding to the 327 already lost, pushing a potential start date for the regular season into January.