The war of words is back on. It remains to be seen whether the word "compromise" is in hockey's future.
The NHL Players' Association responded to the league's call for a two-week moratorium on talks late Thursday night, and the union's initial thought is there's no reason for an official halt.
"We believe that it is more likely that we will make progress if we meet than if we don't," special counsel Steve Fehr said in a statement. "So we are ready to meet. If indeed they do not want to meet, it will be at least the third time in the last three months that they have shut down the dialogue, saying they will not meet unless the players meet their preconditions.
"What does that tell you about their interest in resolving this?"
The NHL says it asked for the moratorium because union officials had no interest in a new collective bargaining agreement. NHLPA Executive Director is expected to take the league's request to the players today before issuing a response.
"I find it incredible that the union is suggesting that we are somehow 'close' to a deal," NHL Deputy Commission Bill Daly said in an email to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "They have utterly refused to negotiate for months. They have made essentially one proposal -- five times. They continue to request a 'guaranteed' players share as part of the next agreement and we repeatedly tell them maybe they should get a reality check.
"In the mean time, maybe they can make their position clear to us on 50-50, on the make-whole and on player contracting issues."