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Losing the major attraction on the regular-season schedule was the biggest blow yet for the league and its players. The sides couldn't even manage to get together since the previous bargaining session in which the players' union countered a league offer with three proposals that were quickly rejected by the NHL.
Daly indicated that cancelling the Winter Classic doesn't necessarily mean more games in the regular season -- or the All-Star game -- will be wiped out soon.
"I don't foresee any further cancellation announcements in the near term," Daly wrote in an email to The Associated Press on Friday.
In its most recent proposal, the NHL offered the union a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue, which exceeded $3 billion last season, but that offer was rejected. The players responded with three offers that went nowhere.
The NHL offer was pulled back because it was contingent on the league playing a complete season.
"Last week we had a proposal to save a full season on the table. That has since been withdrawn," Daly told the AP. "That creates a different environment for talks."
Players earned 57 percent of revenue in the recently expired contract, in which a salary cap was included for the first time. Owners sought to bring that number below 50 percent this time before their most recent offer. The union tried to get talks restarted last week without preconditions, but was turned away after refusing to agree to bargain off the framework of the league's offer or issue another proposal with the league's offer serving as a starting point.
This is the third lockout in NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman's tenure. The first forced a shortened 1994-95 season, and the second led to the cancellation of the entire 2004-05 season -- the only time a major North American professional sports league lost a full season to a labor dispute.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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