Start of season in jeopardy as labor talks break down
(Reuters) - Labor talks between the National Hockey League (NHL) and union representing its locked-out players broke off on Tuesday with no progress to report, raising the prospect that the first block of regular season games will soon be canceled.
The two sides met for about two hours in New York where they discussed the definition of hockey-related revenue but did not address the core economic issues standing in the way of a new collective bargaining agreement.
"We don't really have any progress to report. As a matter of fact, no progress was made," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told reporters. "Today wasn't overly encouraging, that's for sure."
No further talks between the two sides are scheduled.
The NHL imposed a lockout, which essentially halts all league operations, when the previous collective bargaining agreement expired 17 days ago with the owners and players at odds over how to divide a $3.3 billion revenue pie.
The entire two-week preseason has since been canceled by the NHL and many experts are expecting the league to announce the cancellation of some regular season games later this week.
The 2012-13 NHL season is scheduled to begin on October 11. If games are canceled it will mark the first regular season NHL action to be scrapped since a lockout wiped out the entire 2004-05 season.
A number of big-name players, including Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and league most valuable player Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins, have since signed contracts to play in European leagues while the NHL sorts out its fourth work stoppage in 20 years.
The NHL, which enjoyed record-breaking revenues last season, is looking to cut the players' share of revenue while players are against taking an immediate, absolute salary reduction.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto. Editing by Steve Keating in Toronto.)
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