For 48 hours last week, the National Hockey League allowed its owners and general managers to answer questions directly from their players regarding the NHL's latest CBA proposal.
But the NHL Players' Association was not informed about the window of opportunity.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun on ESPN.com that the league sent out a legal memo to its clubs that outlined the specifics of what could be discussed.
The union was not pleased that they were excluded from the news.
"Most owners are not allowed to attend bargaining meetings," NHLPA counsel Steve Fehr said in a statement sent to several news outlets. "No owners are allowed to speak to the media about the bargaining. It is interesting that they are secretly unleashed to talk to the players about the meetings the players can attend, but the owners cannot."
Players are normally not allowed to be in contact with clubs during the labour stoppage and are not allowed to use their team's facilities.
"I'm not sure why that's a big story," Daly added.
ESPN.com's Katie Strang adds that the league's memo strictly prohibits general managers from negotiating with players, making coercive statements, undermining the NHLPA or soliciting feedback on "their sentiment about collective bargaining matters."
It does, however, allow GMs to answer certain inquiries from players. ESPN.com also reports that the memo included a sample question-and-answer portion that gives executives suggestions on how to answer such things as: "What do you think we should do?," "What happens if the union doesn't accept this proposal?" and 'Why did the league take so long to make this offer?"
After exchanging offers last week, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman suggested that a deal must be reached by Thursday this week in order to save a full 82-game regular season that begins on Nov. 2.
Daly maintains a deal can be reached under the "make whole" proposal, and that there is wiggle room on the framework.
"We told them while there was only limited flexibility, the offer was not presented as a 'take it or leave it,'" Daly told ESPN. "We are willing to talk about it. But if their position is every other element of our offer is unacceptable - which they suggested to us at the meeting on Thursday - I'm not sure there is much to talk about currently."
Fehr reiterated to ESPN.com on Tuesday that he believes the league in that meeting Thursday told the NHLPA there isn't much wiggle room on the rest of the deal, apart from "make whole," other than "minor and insubstantial" tweaks.