Although there was limited communication between NHL Players' Association special counsel Steve Fehr and NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly over the weekend, the stalemate between the sides continues, making it likely that the Winter Classic will be canceled.
Daly said Monday that the two sides had no plans to meet but that the league is ready and willing to meet as soon as necessary.
"No new news. We withdrew our most recent proposal on Friday, and now we are spending time thinking about our next proposal and how best to get closer to a resolution," Daly said by email. "We hope the union is doing the same thing. Given the fact that the union refused even to discuss our last proposal, it would appear that we still have a large gulf to bridge."
The league and union have not resumed negotiations since swapping proposals in Toronto almost two weeks ago, and it seems clear that the impasse is not close to ending.
Fehr denied that the union is not willing to play ball.
"Since the last bargaining meeting on Oct. 18, we have consistently made it clear to the League that we are ready to meet and are willing to discuss all ideas, certainly including their last proposal," he told ESPN.com. "The league has unfortunately continued to decline to meet. Their position makes it difficult to move the process forward, as it is obviously hard to make progress without talking."
Since rejecting the union's trio of proposals, the league has made two rounds of game cancellations. The latest, announced on Friday, wiped out the regular-season schedule for November. A source familiar with the league's plan told ESPNNewYork.com that the league is expected to cancel the Winter Classic on Thursday, the source said.
Even if tensions between the two sides thaw, Mother Nature would make it tough for the sides to resume negotiations in New York this week because of the effects of Hurricane Sandy. The storm is moving in to the city later Monday; mass transit and schools have been suspended, and the city has ordered hundreds of thousands to evacuate.
NHLPA executive director Don Fehr is back in Toronto, the union's nerve center. Fehr had plans to fly to Minnesota to meet with players on Monday.
(Courtesy ESPN New York)