No new con­tact be­tween sides in hockey’s la­bor fight

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS - By ira Podell

NEW YORK — NHL deputy com­mis­sioner Bill Daly said Fri­day that he is out of ideas for how to get ne­go­ti­a­tions back on track to save the hockey sea­son.

Talks fell apart on Thurs­day night amid back-and-forth ac­cu­sa­tions, and the fall­out was still be­ing felt Fri­day. The two sides had no con­tact with each other on the 83rd day of the own­ers’ lock­out of play­ers.

“I have no rea­son, nor any in­ten­tion, of reach­ing out to the union right now,” Daly said in an email to The As­so­ci­ated Press. “I have no new ideas. Maybe they do. We are happy to lis­ten.”

If the play­ers do have a sug­ges­tion, they haven’t of­fered it yet. Their most re­cent pro­posal was turned down quickly on Thurs­day by the NHL, which wanted a yes or no an­swer on three spe­cific con­di­tions the league said were non-ne­go­tiable. When the union tried to bargain the points, the meet­ing ended abruptly.

That has left the NHL’s la­bor sit­u­a­tion in limbo.

All games have been can­celed through Dec. 14, which is only a week away, so more games will surely be wiped off the sched­ule soon.

NHL Com­mis­sioner Gary Bettman said Thurs­day that he won’t al­low a sea­son to be played that con­tains fewer than 48 games per team — the length of the sea­son that was played af­ter a lock­out ended in Jan­uary 1995.

If there isn’t a res­o­lu­tion soon, Sid­ney Crosby ap­pears ready to find a place to play else­where.

The Pitts­burgh Pen­guins star wants to get back to work. He said Fri­day the prospect of lac­ing up his skates in Europe is grow­ing more ap­peal­ing as the lock­out nears the three-month mark. The break­down in ne­go­ti­a­tions left Crosby “dis­ap­pointed” and con­sid­er­ing other op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“I just want to play hockey,” Crosby told re­porters af­ter an in­for­mal work­out with some of his team­mates on Fri­day morn­ing. “As far as what­ever op­tion is best there, I’ll start think­ing of it a lot more be­cause this stuff is get­ting ridicu­lous.”

Crosby was part of the play­ers’ ne­go­ti­at­ing team over three days in New York un­til the talks fell apart Thurs­day.

The lock­out has be­come an­other set­back in a mad­den­ing two years for the game’s most pop­u­lar player. The 2007 NHL MVP and 2010 Olympic gold medal­ist has been lim­ited to just 28 games since Jan­uary 2011 due to a se­ries of de­bil­i­tat­ing con­cus­sions. He is healthy now and signed a 12-year con­tract ex­ten­sion last sum­mer that would keep him in Pitts­burgh un­til his late-30s.

Yet in­stead of fo­cus­ing on get­ting the Pen­guins back to the Stan­ley Cup fi­nals, Crosby has spent the last three months try­ing to help sal­vage at least part of the sea­son.

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