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, Feb. 21: Leafs turning green

Tuesday, Feb. 21: Leafs turning green

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while spring training is ramping up in a big way down in Florida.

*The Toronto Maple Leafs are going to wear their great, green, old school St. Pat’s sweaters around St. Patrick’s Day this season.

*Jonathan Quick is on the ice and participating in hockey activity, but isn’t quite ready to return for the Los Angeles Kings.

*This is one of the best things you’ll see today with Vladimir Tarasenko making the 11th birthday celebration for a special little girl.

*The Edmonton Oilers could potentially make a lot of moves at the NHL trade deadline, and unsurprisingly, there is quite the call for them to dump Benoit Pouliot after that bad contract they signed him to a couple of years ago.

*Lyle Richardson is predicting the biggest buyers at the 2017 NHL trade deadline and the Bruins are not among the nine teams listed.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) James Mirtle goes 1-on-1 with Toronto Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello a wide range of subjects for the Athletic up in Toronto.

*Tommy Wingels continues to fight for inclusion in hockey even as he’s gone from the San Jose Sharks to the Ottawa Senators this season.

*For something completely different: A perfect pool trick shot video will blow your mind and probably get a few pool tables ruined with people trying to recreate it.