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“I never thought the issues were as big as they were back in 04-05,” Morrison said Wednesday. “Apparently, I was wrong.”

A 48-game season was played in 1995 after a lockout stretched into January. Bettman said he wouldn’t have a season shorter than that.

The NHL wants to limit personal player contracts to five years, seven for a club to re-sign its own player, and has elevated the issue to the highest level of importance. The union countered with an offer of an eight-year maximum length with the variable in salary being no greater than a 25 percent difference between the highest-paid year of the deal and the lowest.

The other sticking points the NHL demanded of the players are a 10-year term on the new agreement, with a mutual opt-out option after eight years, and no compliance buy-outs or caps on escrow in the transition phase to the new structure. The union presented an offer of an eight-year deal with a reopener after six.

No owners were with Bettman and Daly on the NHL side Wednesday, but the union had plenty of players in tow: Morrison, Craig Adams, Adrian Aucoin, Brad Boyes, Chris Campoli, Mathieu Darche, Shane Doan, Ron Hainsey, Jamal Mayers Andy McDonald, Steve Montador, Douglas Murray, and Daniel Winnik.