This 63-day lockout has claimed 327 regular-season games, and hope of a new deal and the start of the already-shortened season — likely of 68 games per team — on Dec. 1 has started to wane.
It is more than just finances preventing a deal. The disagreements over player contract terms have emerged as just as big an impasse.
The NHL wants to limit contracts to five years, make rules to prohibit back-diving contracts the league feels circumvent the salary cap, keep players ineligible for unrestricted free agency until they are 28 or have eight years of professional service time, cut entry-level deals to two years, and make salary arbitration after five years.
Once those issues are settled, the sides will then have to figure out who will cover the financial damage the lockout will ultimately do to this season.
Players missed their third pay day of the season Thursday, and the clock is ticking toward more losses. The 2004-05 season was canceled in February. A lockout in 1995 ended in January, leading to a 48-game schedule.
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