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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Pessimism Grows in NHL Negotiations

LOS ANGELES -- Prospects that the NHL season will start as scheduled Saturday grew increasingly dim after a new proposal by the league failed to spark any hint of an agreement.

Central to the new proposal, introduced to the players' union Tuesday during an eight-hour session in Toronto, is a major reduction in the rate of the "luxury tax" that would be paid by teams whose payrolls exceed a negotiated, predetermined amount. Proceeds of the levy would be pooled and disbursed to help the league's weaker teams.

Bob Goodenow, executive director of the NHL Players Association, said he would study the new proposal in detail before responding.

But a source said Tuesday's session generated a cloud of pessimism and added, "There won't be any hockey on Saturday."

Commissioner Gary Bettman announced last Thursday that he would indefinitely postpone the start of the season unless a new collective bargaining agreement could be reached. He will inform clubs Friday, probably in the morning to accommodate those scheduled to fly long distances, whether to stay home or proceed with their travel plans. Twelve games are scheduled for Saturday.

No negotiations were scheduled Wednesday.

League sources say the NHL has prepared several schedules to cover cancellations of varying lengths.