All quiet as NHL deadline nears

NEW YORK — The National Hockey League’s deadline for playing a full 82-game season arrived Thursday with no new discussions between the league and its locked-out players.

Without a new collective bargaining agreement that would end the league’s lockout of players on its 40th day, the NHL vowed to cut the season short. An announcement officially taking a full schedule out of play wasn’t immediately planned.

Major money-making events such as the outdoor Winter Classic and the All-Star Game could soon be in peril, too.


‘‘No contact, and I don’t anticipate any announcements today,’’ NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Associated Press in an e-mail Thursday.

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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had painted a pessimistic picture on Wednesday, saying at a news conference for the Islanders’ move to Brooklyn, ‘‘Unfortunately, it looks like an 82-game season is not going to be a reality.’’

The league has already canceled all 135 scheduled games through Nov. 1, but the thought was those could be rescheduled if a deal were reached by Thursday and play started Nov. 2.

In making its most recent offer to the players, the NHL presented a proposal that included a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenues. But that was contingent on the sides making the Thursday deadline and getting the season under way following a week of training camp.

The union responded with three counterproposals, all of which would get the sides to a 50-50 deal, but the league rejected them quickly because they didn’t work off the NHL’s offer. Talks then broke down, and the NHL turned down the union’s offer to return to the table this week with no preconditions. The NHL wants anything and everything open to discussion.


The league’s position is if the players’ association isn’t willing to negotiate off the NHL’s offer — which Bettman has called the league’s best — or make a counteroffer using that proposal as a framework, then there is no sense in meeting just to meet.

NHL Players Association executive director Donald Fehr said Wednesday night that the league’s deadline was bogus.

‘‘We are and continue to be ready to meet to discuss how to resolve our remaining differences, with no preconditions,” he said. “For whatever reason, the owners are not. At the same time they are refusing to meet, they are winding the clock down to yet another artificial deadline they created.’’