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December 8, 2012

Labor talks remain on thin ice

NEW YORK — NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Friday that he is out of ideas how to get negotiations back on track to save the hockey season.

Talks fell apart on Thursday night amid back-and-forth accusations, and the fallout was still being felt Friday. The two sides had no contact with each other on the 83rd day of the owners’ lockout of players.

“I have no reason, nor any intention, of reaching out to the union right now,” Daly said in an email to The Associated Press. “I have no new ideas. Maybe they do. We are happy to listen.”

If the players do have a suggestion, they haven’t offered it yet. Their most recent proposal was turned down quickly on Thursday by the NHL, which wanted a yes or no answer on three specific conditions the league said were non-negotiable. When the union tried to bargain the points, the meeting ended abruptly.

That has left the NHL’s labor situation in limbo.

All games have been canceled through Dec. 14, which is only a week away, so more games will surely be wiped off the schedule soon. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday that he won’t allow a season to be played that contains fewer than 48 games per team — the length of the season that was played after a lockout ended in January 1995.

If there isn’t a resolution soon, Sidney Crosby appears ready to find a place to play elsewhere.

The Pittsburgh Penguins star wants to get back to work. He said Friday the prospect of lacing up his skates in Europe is growing more appealing as the lockout nears the three-month mark. The breakdown in negotiations left Crosby “disappointed” and considering other opportunities.

“I just want to play hockey,” Crosby told reporters after an informal workout with some of his teammates on Friday morning. “As far as whatever option is best there, I’ll start thinking of it a lot more because this stuff is getting ridiculous.”

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