NHL Lockout 2012: Gary Bettman suggests 2-week break in talks

Bruce Bennett

Recommendation for two-week hiatus comes after negotiations stall.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman suggested Thursday that NHL ownership and the NHLPA take a two-week hiatus from negotiations, according to a report from CBC Sports. Bettman's recommendation comes after the lockout has reached nine weeks and negotiations have reached an impasse.

NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr told Bettman he would have to take the proposal to union membership for approval, though such approval may be unlikely:

"We believe that it is more likely that we will make progress if we meet than if we don't. 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?"

As CBC Sports reports, the negotiations remain deadlocked on the share of league revenue distributed to players and other player contract rights within the collective bargaining agreement. With each passing week, the impasse tears away another chunk of the regular season.

So far, 327 hockey games have been canceled, including the Winter Classic, an outdoor game that has become the league's showcase regular season event. The league's All-Star Game, currently scheduled for Jan. 27, is likely to be postponed or canceled soon.

The current lockout is the fourth work stoppage in the last 20 years for the NHL. The last lockout, in 2004-05, eventually led the league to cancel the season when an agreement could not be reached by mid-February.

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