Barring a substantial move from the National Hockey League or the NHL Players' Association, the NHL is expected to cancel this season's Winter Classic on Friday.
The move has been speculated for some time, as the league's payment plan for use of the Big House at the University of Michigan calls for $250,000 to be paid to the school on Friday. The rest of the payment schedule was to have $1 million paid on Dec. 7 and on Dec. 28 and $650,000 on Jan. 18.
On the negotiation front, NHLPA counsel Steve Fehr and NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly talked extensively over the phone on Tuesday about a variety of issues.
Both had planned on meeting face to face, but couldn't make arrangements because of inclement weather.
This year's Winter Classic between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings was billed as the biggest in the event's six-year history. Organizers were expecting a crowd that would eclipse the world record of 104,173 who attended the "Big Chill" NCAA game at the University of Michigan in 2010 and an increased number of secondary events - including alumni, junior, college and American Hockey Leagues games - were slated for a second outdoor venue at Comerica Park in Detroit.