But, more important, is the fact that NHL officials aren’t haven’t productive talks with union leaders. Now it seems that a full season, starting on Nov. 2, won’t take place.
As of now, the league has called off all games through Nov. 1. Without a deal this week, those games are in danger of being called off for good.
Last week, the NHL's most recent contract offer was presented to the union and then publicly released in full. The union returned to the bargaining table last Thursday with its various counterproposals, that would also get to an even split of hockey revenue, but each was quickly rejected by the league.
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.
No negotiations have taken place since last week, but the sides held two conference calls over the weekend to address questions the union had regarding the NHL offer.
After the NHL released it on Wednesday, club officials were given until Friday to speak to players and answer questions they might have about the proposal.
In an internal league memo obtained by The Canadian Press, the NHL stated that those discussions must be limited to the contents of the proposal on the table. It also provided examples of questions that shouldn’t be asked of players and noted that straying from the rules could “cause serious legal problems.”
“You may not ask (a player) what he or others have in mind,” the memo stated. “If he volunteers what he has in mind you should not respond positively or negatively or ask any questions but instead refer him to the NHLPA.
“Likewise, you may not suggest hypothetical proposals that the league might make in the future or that the league might entertain from the union.”
This was the first time club officials were permitted by the NHL to talk to players since the lockout took effect Sept. 16.
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