Continued from page 1

The NHL proposal was contingent on the league playing a full season, which now won’t happen. The league has called that its best offer and has since pulled it back.

“Last week we had a proposal to save a full season on the table. That has since been withdrawn,” Daly told the AP. “That creates a different environment for talks.”

Players earned 57 percent of revenue in the recently expired contract, in which a salary cap was included for the first time. Owners originally sought to bring that number below 50 percent this time before their most recent offer. The players’ association tried to get talks restarted last week, but was turned away by the NHL because the union declined to agree to bargain off the framework of the league’s offer or issue another proposal with the league’s offer serving as a starting point.

Players want negotiations to resume without any preconditions.

There is a major divide between the sides over how to deal with existing player contracts. The union wants to ensure that those are all paid in full without affecting future player contracts. League Commissioner Gary Bettman expressed a willingness to discuss the “make whole” provisions on existing contracts, but only if the economic portions of the league’s offer are accepted first by the union.

This is the third lockout in Bettman’s tenure. The first forced a shortened 1994-95 season, and the second led to the cancellation of the entire 2004-05 season _ the only time a major North American professional sports league lost a full season to a labor dispute.

This Winter Classic was the first one scheduled for a college stadium _ after the previous five were played in NFL or baseball stadiums _ and the first to plan other ice events in a different venue as part of the celebration.

Comerica Park, home to the American League champion Detroit Tigers, was supposed to host The Hockeytown Winter Festival and the NHL Alumni Showdown. Those events are also casualties of the lockout.

___

AP Sports Writer Ira Podell in New York contributed to this report.

___

Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: http://twitter.com/larrylage