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“The league is apparently unwilling to meet,” NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr said in a statement Tuesday. “That is unfortunate, as it is hard to make progress without talking.”

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.

Bettman refused to say whether the 50-50 split in the NHL's most recent offer would come off the table if a full season isn’t played.

“I’m not going to negotiate publicly,” he said.

This is the third lockout of Bettman’s tenure. The stoppage began Sept. 16.