Talks between the NHL and its players union abruptly ended once again on Wednesday after the league immediately rejected a new plan from the players that closed the monetary gap between both sides to less than $40 million over the life of a proposed five-year deal, according to multiple reports.
"We're still far apart," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said.
Wednesday's negotiating session, which was held at the NHL office, lasted for a combined three hours before adjourning.
Once again, both sides are left without a new deal and a new date for resumption of talks has not been announced. The lockout, which is closing in on nearly one-third of the originally scheduled regular season's game being cancelled, will enter its 68th day on Thursday.
Union chief Donald Fehr once again blasted league officials.
"On the big things there was as of today no reciprocity in any meaningful sense, no movement on the players' share, no movement on salary-arbitration eligibility, no movement on free agency eligibility, no agreement on a pension plan," union head Donald Fehr said.
Countered Bettman, who is now overseeing the third lockout of players during his tenure, "I think it's frustrating for everybody and disappointing for everybody that's it's taken this long and we're still far apart."
It's questionable whether both sides will resume talks anytime soon after Fehr said the union had moved more than halfway and that Wednesday's latest proposal "is about as good as we can do."
Bettman proposed a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue on Oct. 16, but players had sought to receive guaranteed income each year. The NHL's hockey-related revenue last season was a reported $3.3 billion.
"Gary said we were $900 million or a $1 billion apart," Fehr said, referring to the gap over a five-year deal. "At the moment we are exactly $182 million apart."
The NHL has cancelled over 325 games to date in the fourth work stoppage in just over 20 years, and the third lockout of players by the league since 1994, when the work stoppage eventually led to the cancellation of the entire 1994-95 season.