NHL labor talks break off after only one hour

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NHL labor talks break off after only one hour

The momentum that seemed to be carrying the National Hockey League toward a labor settlement crashed into a brick wall Thursday afternoon, as a negotiating session between the league and the players' union lasted little more than a hour with commissioner Gary Bettman calling the players' counterproposal to the league's offer a "step backward".

"I am, to say the least, totally disappointed," Bettman said at a hastily called news conference after the session broke off.

The players shared Bettman's pessimism, if not his feeling as to who's to blame. David Backes of the St. Louis Blues, in a text to ESPN's Pierre LaBrun, said, "We feel our newest proposal took a great step towards getting a deal done. It's too bad the owners don't feel that way."

Backes added: "I fear that we may miss an extended amount of time now."

The league on Tuesday had proposed a 5050 split of all hockey related revenue, an offer that the National Hockey League Players Association spent most of two days studying. On Wednesday, association president Donald Fehr said the proposed deal would cost the players 1.6 billion over the six-year life of the contract, and the union prepared a counterproposal for Thursday's negotiating session.

Bettman, however, said the players' offer did not "even began to approach a 50-50 split" and that the sides were speaking different languages. He said the talks broke off after only an hour "because there was really nothing there."

The union yet to meet officially with the media, but one of the players who attended the session -- speaking to CSNNE.com's Danny Picard on the condition of anonymity -- disagreed with Bettman's assessment.

"We gave the owners three different ways to get to 50 percent," he said. "We again moved towards them in every one."

"I don't know what the next step is," said Bettman, who added he is concerned by the lack of progress in negotiations.

The player told Picard: "We have to continue to work with the owners. If they want to play so badly, they can repeal the lockout."

More to come . . .

Tuesday, June 28: Stamkos to the Bruins isn't happening

Tuesday, June 28: Stamkos to the Bruins isn't happening

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while the parade of RFAs without qualifying offers wait for July 1 free agency.

*The Eric Lindros induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame finally puts the debate to bed over a controversial player with dominant seasons, serious injuries and some potential unrealized when it was all said and done.

*A list of the top 5 reasons why Steven Stamkos is going to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

*A list of the top reasons why Steven Stamkos is going to re-sign with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Notice there is no list of the top reasons why Stamkos is going to sign with the Boston Bruins because it is not going to happen. 

*Goalie Jack Campbell is traded away from the Dallas Stars, but has nothing but positive things to say about the organization.

*Matt Cullen will put off retirement after winning the Stanley Cup, and hopes to re-sign with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

*Congrats to Ron Maclean and David Amber splitting the hosting duties for Hockey Night in Canada on Saturdays. A great example of two classy pros, though I also think that Strombo did a good job under challenging circumstances the last couple of years.

*Andrew Shaw signs a six-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens that will insure he’s an aggravating pest in the Habs/Bruins rivalry for a long time to come. 

*For something completely different: Peyton Manning pays his respects to legendary Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt on the day of her passing.

Dupont: If Bruins throw money at Stamkos, they move Krejci

Dupont: If Bruins throw money at Stamkos, they move Krejci

Kevin Paul Dupont joins Michael Felger on Sports Tonight to give his opinion on whether or not the Boston Bruins should sign Steven Stamkos and what other moves could be coming down the road this offseason.