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A shortened season is still the most likely scenario once the sides can get back to talking and working their way to an agreement.

“Sure, you can play an abbreviated season. I would rather play a full season, and I am sure our fans would rather we play a full season,” Bettman said. “That’s why we made the offer we did. That was our fourth offer against really one offer from the union in all the time that we’ve been negotiating from the summer. We very much want to play and we’re very disappointed that we’re not.”

Following a conference call held by the union’s executive board on Tuesday night, the players’ association informed the NHL it was willing to meet on Wednesday “or any other date, without preconditions, to try to reach an agreement,” the union said in a statement.

The NHL's response wasn’t what the players’ association had hoped to hear.

“We said to them that we are prepared to meet if you want to discuss our offer or you want to make a new offer,” Bettman said. “They have no inclination in doing either, and so there really was no point in meeting at this point.”

The sides haven’t met since the league turned down three counterproposals from the union last Thursday, two days after the NHL's offer that included a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue.

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.