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Have both the NHL and NHLPA dug in for an ‘our proposal or no proposal’ war? Possibly.

Updated at 4:59 PM: As an addendum to today’s CBA negotiation cancelation: TSN’s Aaron Ward has suggested that a lockout is guaranteed because the NHL and NHLPA are “nowhere,” both wanting to start negotiations based upon their respective proposals and only their respective proposals (i.e. a plain old 24% rollback in salaries to bail out the owners, or revenue-sharing via the “Industry Growth Fund”), and given what NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Canadian Press’s Chris Johnston about the state of negotiations after a big-boys-only meeting this morning, well…It sounds like Ward is at least correct in terms of the sides not budging from their proposals as the only possible starting points, though the bigwigs are speaking much more optimistically than Ward is about bridging the “meaningful gulf” between the two:

“I think more than anything else it was to review where we are in the process, where we’ve come from, where we are with the various proposals and to determine how to move the process forward in the best way possible — hoping and understanding that both sides are committed to using the time left to making a deal as quickly as possible,” Daly told The Canadian Press in an interview.

The clock is ticking. The current collective agreement is set to expire Sept. 15 when the NHL says it will lock out the players if a new deal hasn’t been reached.

Formal talks between the two sides were slated to resume at 1 p.m. Wednesday but they have now been postponed until Thursday morning. The private meeting between the four main players [Gary Bettman, Bill Daly, Donald Fehr and Steve Fehr] was kept quiet as media gathered at the NHLPA head office in anticipation of the afternoon talks.

Daly said the two sides will discuss some key issues Thursday.

“I think system-related proposals and economical proposals are the most critical issues and probably the issues where we have the widest divergence of views currently,” said Daly. “I’m all in favour of spending as much time as possible trying to bridge those gaps.”

Donald Fehr said he didn’t “know what’s going to happen for sure tomorrow.”

“You get up in the morning and you try and work that day to see if you can make progress,” he added. “If you don’t find an agreement that way you do it again the next day and you keep doing it until you find a way.”

continued with a summary of both sides’ proposals, and if you don’t want to watch TSN’s version of NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr speaking to the media, the NHLPA provided said six-minute presser in YouTube format:

At least he addresses the press respectfully…

Update: Via NHL.com’s Dan Rosen on Twitter, Shawn P. Roarke provides comments from Daly and Fehr, too:

“I think more than anything else, [the meeting Wednesday] was to review where we are in the process, where we’ve come from, where we are with the various proposals, and to determine how to move the process forward in the best way possible—hoping and understanding that both sides are committed to using the time left to making a deal as quickly as possible,” Daly said

The cancellation of the meeting Wednesday was announced just minutes before it was supposed to begin at 1 p.m. The sides have not met in a full negotiating session since last Thursday here.

“We had the meetings this morning and talked about how we go forward and what we do next and the thought was made that we are better off doing some other things—particularly on our side—and reconvening in the morning,” Fehr said. “This is an ordinary process in bargaining that happens.”

Fehr cautioned against reading too much into the abrupt cancellation of the meeting Wednesday.

“This is one of the normal things that happen in bargaining,” he said. “Sometimes, you schedule things and they don’t come off. Sometimes, you don’t schedule things and you end up with longer and more involved meetings; sometimes you change the format. This is an ordinary part of the process. I wouldn’t attribute any particular significance beyond that.”

The sides will reconvene Thursday for a full negotiating session that will focus on some of the core economic issues, as well as some systematic issues, according to Daly.

“I always remain hopeful. We’re going to talk about system issues tomorrow—system-related proposals. I think system-related proposals and economic proposals are the most critical issues and probably the issues where we have the widest divergence of views currently,” Daly said. “I’m all in favor of spending as much time as possible trying to bridge those gaps.”

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I get the feeling Fehr just getting the pulse of the owners and wondering if what side of the owners are starting to crack.

Posted by FlyersFan on 08/22/12 at 06:30 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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