NHL talks break off, 'still far apart'

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NHL talks break off, 'still far apart'

NEW YORK -- NHL talks quickly broke off again Wednesday after the players made a new proposal they said left sides separated by less than 40 million annually over a five-year contract and Commissioner Gary Bettman immediately rejected the plan, saying "we're still far apart."

On the 67th day of a lockout that already has led to the cancellation of more than a quarter of the regular season, the sides didn't set a date to get back together.

"On the big things there was as of today no reciprocity in any meaningful sense, no movement on the players' share, no movement on salary-arbitration eligibility, no movement on free agency eligibility, no agreement on a pension plan," union head Donald Fehr said.

Union officials and nine players went to the NHL office in the morning and spent about an hour making the proposal. After a 90-minute break, the sides met again for two hours, said there was nothing more to talk about for now and headed off for the Thanksgiving holiday.

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"I think it's frustrating for everybody and disappointing for everybody that's it's taken this long and we're still far apart," said Bettman, in his third lockout as commissioner.

Fehr said players made a percentage-based proposal and said it reflected the economic impact the work stoppage had caused to the NHL, which had 3.3 billion in hockey-related revenue last season.

"We have moved far more than halfway," Fehr said. "It is about as good as we can do."

Bettman on Oct. 16 proposed a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue. With guaranteed contracts likely to push the players' share over the halfway mark originally, management wants that money to come out of future years to bring the overall percentage down to an even split over the length of an agreement.

Players previously had proposed they receive a guaranteed amount of income each year.

"Gary said we were 900 million or a 1 billion apart," Fehr said, referring to the gap over a five-year deal. "At the moment we are exactly 182 million apart."

RELATED: Players' union presents NHL new five-year deal

Fehr said players proposed they get 393 million over the length of the deal, while the NHL is at 211 million.

The league has canceled 326 games through Nov. 30 plus the Jan. 1 Winter Classic between Toronto and Detroit at Ann Arbor, Mich.

This is the league's fourth work stoppage in 21 years and third lockout since 1994. The previous lockout led to the cancellation of the 1994-95 season.

Attending the talks were San Jose forward Adam Burish, free agent defenseman Chris Campoli, Detroit wing Dan Cleary, free agent wing Mathieu Darche, Winnipeg defenseman Ron Hainsey, St. Louis center Andy McDonald, Edmonton center Kevin Shattenkirk and Anaheim center Dan Winnik.

Canucks battling mumps ahead of meeting with Sharks

Canucks battling mumps ahead of meeting with Sharks

Several Vancouver Canucks are battling an outbreak of the mumps ahead of a game on Saturday with the Sharks at Rogers Arena.

At least five players are expected to miss the game. Troy Stecher is the only player with a confirmed test result, general manager Jim Benning said in a statement, but Chris Tanev, Nikita Tryamkin, Mike Chaput and Markus Granlund “have each presented symptoms.”

Players with symptoms are “immediately being tested and quarantined in isolation for a five-day period from the onset of symptoms or until test results prove negative.”

Vancouver Coastal Health authorities were on hand at Rogers Arena on Friday to screen players and staff, and issue immunizations if necessary.

The Sharks and Canucks will both be coming off of their bye week when they play for the second of five times this season.

Sharks' Thornton can follow Marleau, make history in Vancouver

Sharks' Thornton can follow Marleau, make history in Vancouver

SAN JOSE – Three weeks ago, Sharks forward Patrick Marleau made history in Vancouver when he scored his 500th career goal at Rogers Arena on Feb. 2.

His longtime teammate has a chance to make more history on the same ice surface on Saturday. Joe Thornton sits two assists away from becoming just the 13th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 for his career, as the Sharks prepare to resume their post-bye week schedule against the Canucks.

“It’s neat,” Thornton said recently. “It’s something I don’t think growing up or even playing so many years you realize you’re going to hit this milestone. When you see the names – I haven’t really looked at the names yet. I think once it hits I’ll kind of peek and see who’s on that list. It’s a nice accomplishment, I guess.”

Thornton, of course, has helped make goal scorers out of many different teammates throughout his career in Boston and San Jose. Marleau has scored 120 goals in which Thornton registered an assist to top the list, while Joe Pavelski is close behind (111). Jonathan Cheechoo (89 goals assisted by Thornton), Boston’s Glen Murray (70) and Brent Burns (50) have also benefited from being on the ice at the same time as the best player in Sharks franchise history.

“I’ve been lucky to play with so many goal scorers,” Thornton said. “For a guy that passes the puck a lot, you need guys to finish. I’ve been lucky enough ever since I’ve been here in San Jose, and really my whole career. … I’ve had so many good goal scorers that it helps you get to that point.”

Logan Couture gave Thornton more credit than he was willing to give himself. 

“You look over the years – Cheechoo, [Devin Setoguchi], now Pav. He finds guys in the slot," Couture said. "Obviously he’s made some tremendous passes over the years, and guys have put it in the back of the net. … The way he’s able to kind of take a quick peek out of the corner of his eye and find someone and deliver it through feet and sticks and all that stuff, it’s pretty special.”

Thornton is currently 23rd all-time in scoring in NHL history with 1,380 points. He would be just the second player in to debut during the 1990s to reach 1,000 career assists, joining Florida’s Jaromir Jagr. He could eclipse Joe Sakic (1,016 assists) for 12th place on the all-time assist list before the season is through, and is 43 helpers away from breaking into the top 10 (Marcel Dionne, 1,040).

In 60 games this season, Thornton has five goals and 34 assists for 39 points. He has recorded multiple assists in a game six times this season, with the most recent occurrence on Jan. 18 in Los Angeles.

Although he’s off his scoring pace from last season, when he had 82 points in 82 games and finished fifth in voting for the Hart Trophy, Thornton has admitted that this season has been a grind for him. The 37-year-old is coming off of a short summer, helping the Sharks reach their first-ever Stanley Cup Final, and helped Canada win the World Cup of Hockey in September, too.

He’ll be a player to watch coming out of the bye week, which he was looking forward to.

“For me, it’s nice. It’s going to be a nice little break before our last [22] games and our postseason,” he said last week." I think it kind of fits in perfect for us. Get our rest, and get ready for the sprint.”

In 56 career regular season games against the Canucks, Thornton has 16 goals and 48 assists for 64 points.