New York, NY (NNCNOW.com) --- After two optimistic days at the negotiating table, National Hockey League (NHL) commisioner Gary Bettman said on Thursday night the league owners and the NHL Players' Association (NHLPA) are still very far apart in terms of reaching a new collective bargaining agreement.
The owners received a new NHLPA proposal during a Thursday afternoon meeting, but it was a deal that Bettman characterized as "unacceptable."
"It appears that the union is suggesting because we made substantial movements that we are close to a deal," Bettman said at a news conference Thursday evening, "but those moves were contingent on the union specifically agreeing to other things.
"The characterization that I've just heard transmitted to me that we were close," Bettman continued, "reminds of the last time the union said we were close, and we $1 billion apart."
Bettman was responding to an earlier statement from NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr that the two sides were in "complete agreement" on the money aspects of the new proposal.
Minutes after saying that, Fehr received word that the owners had rejected the deal and that no new talks would be scheduled.
"This looks like it's not going to be resolved in the immediate future," Fehr said.
The NHL players have been locked out without a collective bargaining agreement since Sept. 16, and regular season games have already been canceled through Dec. 14. The 2013 Winter Classic and the 2013 NHL All-Star game have also been canceled.