Thursday was probably one of the most disappointing days of the NHL lockout (and that's saying something) as everything that appeared to be accomplished earlier in the week seemed to be blown up in a series of press conferences from Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman.
After Fehr stood in front of the media and talked about how he felt the sides had an agreement on financial issues, the NHL rejected the union's latest proposal -- by voicemail.
Everything went south and the two sides had no contact on Friday.
According to Sportsnet's John Shannon there will also be no meetings over the weekend, though it is possible the two sides could still talk over the phone.
The main issues that derailed talks Thursday were the proposed length of the CBA and the proposed term-limit on player contracts from the NHL. Instead of giving the league a yes or no answer on its latest proposal, the players instead responded with another proposal of their own which the NHL was not interested in hearing.
Although no talks are expected over the weekend, it is thought the NHL will cancel more regular season games very soon, perhaps as early as Monday.
The league has already had to cancel games through Dec. 14, and since we're now a week from that date and no additional talks are scheduled over the next two days, there would seem to be no chance an agreement will be reached in time to start games on the 15th. Especially since the league would need at least a week -- if not more -- to get the season started once a new agreement is finally reached.
Bettman insisted Thursday evening the league has no drop-dead date when it comes to canceling the entire regular-season schedule.
"I keep hearing that we have some magic date," said Bettman. "You know what my magic date was? It was Oct. 11, when we should have opened the season with a new collective bargaining agreement. And the fact of the matter is, we'll get to a point, at that point we'll conclude we can't have a season with integrity, and then we'll have to make a tough decision. I am certainly hoping that we don't get to that place. But when we do, we'll be there."
When asked if the league has determined a mininum number of games for the regular-season schedule, he referred back to the 1994-95 season when the league played a 48-game, intraconference schedule after the first half of the season was lost due to the NHL's first lockout.
"I can't imagine wanting to play fewer than that," said Bettman.
The second lockout in 2004-05 cost the league the entire season.
The third one, which is going on right now, has already cost the league 422 regular-season games, the Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, Mich., and the All-Star Weekend in Columbus, Ohio.