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Sides still at odds in NHL labor talks

Associated Press Modified: October 10, 2012 at 8:46 pm •  Published: October 10, 2012

If discussions can get jump-started, the sides haven't ruled out meeting again on Friday. Two weeks of the regular season have already been wiped out — at least temporarily — and if a deal isn't struck soon, more games could soon be lost.

For now, Daly and the NHL just want to hear something new from the union.

"We're trying to think of ideas to move the process forward," he said. "Our message to the players' association was we're encouraging them to make a proposal. We hear, we understand that they have been working on some concepts, some ideas. We've suggested to them to just make the proposal.

"Any movement is better than no movement at all. If we move sideways, hopefully we move it forward. But even if we move backward, it might be better than where we are now."

These were the first negotiations since the sides held an unannounced meeting in Toronto on Friday to discuss where they were and how to move the process forward.

Last week, the NHL canceled the first two weeks of the regular season, wiping out 82 games from Thursday through Oct. 24.

Daly estimated the NHL lost $100 million from the cancellation of the entire preseason and another $140 million to $150 million with the regular-season losses.

"It's unfortunate for both of us," he said. "It's a significant amount of money that the players share in on a significant basis. Whatever that percentage ends up being, it's a significant basis.

"Even more disappointing from should be from our collective perspective is we felt like over the last seven years we've built up a lot of momentum in the business, we've had a lot of growth, and who knows what a work stoppage from this will do to our momentum."

One victory was achieved by the NHL on Wednesday when the Alberta Labor Relations Board ruled that the lockout of players from the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames can continue.

The board said declaring the lockout illegal in the province wouldn't help the league and its players reach a settlement. The players had argued that the Oilers and Flames are Alberta businesses and as such, must abide by provincial labor rules.

"We're disappointed, obviously," Steve Fehr said. "We thought we had a strong case. It's a bit of an odd decision in that the labor board found that its powers were permissive instead of mandatory.

"They didn't say we were necessarily wrong on the law, they said they just chose not to get involved. We think that is unfortunate. We think they should've gotten involved. Obviously it's a win for the league and they get to continue the lockout they want so badly without any interference from the Alberta labor board."

Daly said the entire case was irrelevant to the bargaining process that will be necessary to reach a deal.

"It was really a distraction to the process," he said. "It wasn't good-faith bargaining. It didn't move the good-faith bargaining process forward."