Less than a day after withdrawing their latest CBA proposal to the NHL Players' Association, the NHL announced the cancellation of November's remaining games.
The league cancelled games from Oct. 25 through Nov. 1 last week and a total of 326 regular season games - 26.5 percent of the season - were scheduled for Oct. 11 through Nov. 30.
"The National Hockey League deeply regrets having to take this action," said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly in a statement.
"By presenting a proposal to the NHLPA that contemplated a fair division of revenues and was responsive to Player concerns regarding the value of their contracts, we had hoped to be able to forge a long-term Collective Bargaining Agreement that would have preserved an 82-game regular season for our fans. Unfortunately, that did not occur.
"We acknowledge and accept that there is joint responsibility in collective bargaining and, though we are profoundly disappointed that a new agreement has not been attained to this point, we remain committed to achieving an agreement that is fair for the Players and the Clubs - one that will be good for the game and our fans."
The NHL stuck to its most recent proposal that stated a full 82-game schedule could be played if the season began by Nov. 2. The league said the deal had to be reached by Thursday for that to happen, but never did.
The union rejected the NHL's proposal that offered a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenues and ensured a full regular-season schedule. The Players' Association countered with three offers that were, in turn, quickly dismissed by the league.
"This is deeply disappointing for all hockey fans and everyone who makes their living from hockey, including the players," said NHLPA executive driector Donald Fehr in a statement. "But it comes as no surprise."
"Last week the owners gave us what amounts to a "take-it-or-leave-it" proposal. We responded with the framework for three proposals on the players' share, each of which moved significantly, towards their stated desire for a 50-50 split of HRR, with the only condition being that they honour contracts they have already signed. Honouring contracts signed between owners and players is a reasonable request. Unfortunately, after considering them for only 10 minutes they rejected all of our proposals.
Since then, we have repeatedly advised the owners that the players are prepared to sit down and negotiate on any day, with no pre-conditions. The owners refused. They apparently are only interested in meeting if we first agree to everything in their last offer, except for perhaps a few minor tweaks and discussion of their "make whole" provision.
The message from the owners seems to be: if you don't give us exactly what we want, there is no point in talking. They have shown they are very good at delivering deadlines and demands, but we need a willing partner to negotiate. We hope they return to the table in order to get the players back on the ice soon."
Fehr met with players and attended a charity game Friday night in Rosemont, Ill.
"The only thing I'll say about the conversation is, and we repeatedly get asked, 'What is there in the NHL offer that moved in our direction?"' Fehr said. "My problem is all I can do is shrug my shoulders, because I don't know what it is."