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NHL declines key pieces of proposal by NHLPA, still no end to lockout

The NHL lockout still shows no sign of ending. The league has rejected a new proposal delivered by the players' association today.

The NHLPA's offer took several steps in the league's direction, including an agreement to immediately split revenues 50-50 plus "make whole" contributions, but union leader Donald Fehr told reporters in New York this afternoon that the NHL declined to move off its previous proposal.

"We're still far apart," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters. "But hopefully there's some momentum so we can bring this to a conclusion."

The union will conduct a conference call later today to determine its next step. The sides are reportedly expected to meet again Friday.

The "make whole" provision and player contracting rights continue to be prime obstacles to a deal.

The union wants to ensure that all existing contracts are honored, and it asked the league to contribute $393 million over four years to the players. Fehr told reporters the league said it will not go above the $211 million it offered in its previous proposal.

"On the big things there was, as of today, no reciprocity in any meaningful sense," Fehr said in New York.

The union took a stand on player contracting rights, agreeing only to find a way to end the front-loaded deals the NHL wants eliminated. The league also wants a cap on contract lengths and changes in free agency, among other things, but the NHLPA views them as "very, very, very important," Fehr said.

"Apologies to all the loyal, passionate fans out there," New York Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto said on Twitter. "We clearly do not have a willing negotiating partner."

The league's next step is likely to cancel more of the schedule. All games through Nov. 30 have been axed, and a new collective bargaining agreement needs to be in place by Friday in order for games to return Dec. 1. Several reports say the league will cancel an additional two weeks of games plus All-Star weekend in the next announcement, which is expected Friday.

---John Vogl

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

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Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

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Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

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