The Washington Times - December 6, 2012, 08:46PM

The on again, off again state of the CBA talks to end the NHL lockout hit off again Thursday night as negotiations broke off amid disagreement over the latest set of proposals.

First there was NHL Players’ Association executive director Donald Fehr saying there was “complete agreement” on money and espousing optimism about a quick settlement. Within a half-hour, pessimism returned in the form of a rejection via voicemail left for NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr by deputy commissioner Bill Daly. Daly called the players’ offer “unacceptable.”

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Gary Bettman continued that trend, explaining that, among other things, the optimism from Tuesday “inexplicably” disappeared by Wednesday.

“We’re at a loss to explain what happened, but things were not of the same tone as they were on Tuesday,” he told reporters in New York City.

As players were left to wonder what’s next, some even standing in the room while Bettman addressed the media, four so-called “moderate” owners released statements about the proceedings.

Read them here:

Pittsburgh Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle:

“The idea to put players and owners together in the same room was a refreshing idea. Commissioner Bettman should be thanked for proposing it and the Fehrs should be thanked for agreeing to it.

“The players came with a strong desire to get back to playing hockey. They were professional and did a good job of expressing their concerns and listening to ours.”

“We wanted to move quickly and decisively. We have all spent too much time without any real progress at the expense of our fans, our sponsor and the communities we serve. It was time to make bold moves and get a deal. Many people think we got over our skis and they are probably right, but we wanted to do everything we could to get back to hockey now. We didn’t hold back.

“We made substantial movement on our end quickly, but unfortunately that was not met with the same level of movement from the other side. The players asked us to be patient and keep working with them. It’s not what they do and they wanted us to know they were committed. We understood and appreciated their situation. We came back with an aggressive commitment to pensions which we felt was well received. We needed a response on key items that were important to us, but we were optimistic that we were down to very few issues. I believe a deal was within reach.

“We were therefore surprised when the Fehrs made a unilateral and “non-negotiable” decision – which is their right, to end the player/owner process that has moved us farther in two days than we moved at any time in
the past months.

“I want to thank the players involved for their hard work as we tried to reach a deal.

 “I hope that going backwards does not prevent a deal.”

Winnipeg Jets owner Mark Chipman (of True North):

“I’d like to thank the NHL for giving me the opportunity to participate in this very important process.

“I came here optimistic that we could find a solution. That sense of optimism grew after our first few sessions, including the small group discussions late last night.

“Regrettably, we have been unable to close the divide on some critical issues that we feel are essential to the immediate and long-term health of our game.

“While I sense there are some members of the players association that understand our perspective on these issues, clearly there are many that don’t.

“I am deeply disappointed that we were unable to bring this extremely unfortunate situation to a successful conclusion and I wish to apologize to our fans and sponsors for letting them down.”

Toronto Maple Leafs’ Larry Tanenbaum (of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment):

“I was pleased to be asked to join the Player/Owner negotiation sessions. I had hoped that my perspective both as a businessman and as one of the owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs would be helpful to the process. Like all other teams, this work stoppage has hurt our fans, our employees and our business. Neither the owners nor the players will ever recover the losses incurred with this work stoppage.

“I understand how important it is to have a strong league and 30 healthy teams. I must admit that I was shocked at how things have played out over the last 48 hours. The sessions on Tuesday felt cooperative with
an air of goodwill. I was optimistic and conveyed my optimism to the Board of Governors at our Wednesday meeting. However, when we reconvened with the players on Wednesday afternoon, it was like someone had thrown a switch. The atmosphere had completely changed. Nevertheless, the owners tried to push forward and made a number of concessions and proposals, which were not well-received. I question whether the union is interested in making an agreement.

“I am very disappointed and disillusioned. Had I not experienced this process myself, I might not have believed it. Like all hockey fans, I am hopeful this situation can be resolved as soon as possible. I miss our
game.”

Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik:

“After working this week with our players toward what we hoped would  be a new agreement, owners presented a proposal we believed would benefit  those great players, ownership, and, ultimately, our fans for many years to come.  While trust was built and progress was made along the way,  unfortunately, our proposal was rejected by the Union’s leadership. My love for the game is only superseded by my commitment to our fans and I hold out hope we can soon join with our players and return the game back to its rightful place on the ice.”