SUN Hockey Pool

Daly wants to talk

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

The NHL has hope that a season can be salvaged, but it would be hard to imagine it getting down on its knees and begging the NHL Players' Association to return to the bargaining table this week.

"(We) don't know how this week will play out yet," NHL chief legal officer Bill Daly said in an e-mail message yesterday. "The union broke off our meeting on Friday and I would hope they want to talk again. If they don't call us, I'm not sure yet how we'll proceed."

Two days of talks in New York ended Friday afternoon and there was some speculation NHL commissioner Gary Bettman would announce yesterday, with the Super Bowl in full bore, the cancellation of the season. That didn't happen, but the majority of observers figure it is only a matter of time before Bettman steps up to a cluster of microphones to say the season is done. There were no discussions between the NHL and NHLPA during the weekend, but there could be another proposal coming from the league at some point.

Last week was called "very crucial" by Daly before it began and the one ahead is no different. But the outcome at week's end will be the same as it was on Friday if there is not a new set of beliefs put forth by one side. That means the NHLPA would have to suddenly decide a salary cap linked to revenue is just dandy or that the NHL would suddenly think there is no need for a hard cap. Neither side has demonstrated anything close to a willingness to budge from its stance.

But there are those who would be willing to play whatever season is put in front of them if one can be saved.

"Whatever the owners want," Detroit Red Wings defenceman Chris Chelios told the Detroit News on the weekend. "Especially for the fans and vendors, if we'd play 15 games they'd be happy if we got the playoffs in. Something is better than nothing. They don't have to get the playoffs in by the end of June. The arenas are empty.

"As long as the fans and vendors get their fix, that's good enough for me. We'll do whatever they tell us."

Daly is not ready to help drive a final nail into the season.

"I still think we can get this done and have a meaningful season," Daly, who has maintained the lines of communication will remain open, said. "But it has to happen quick.

"If we can't get a new CBA that's going to work for the league long term, yes, the commissioner will cancel the season."

The only remaining question, it seems, is when.


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