A lockout in the National Hockey League now appears certain.
Less than a week before the collective bargaining agreement is to expire, the NHL rejected Thursday a proposal by the union and said it was "extremely disappointed" with the players' offer.
"Not only did the union's proposal fail to move the process forward toward a resolution," said Bill Daly, the NHL executive vice president and chief legal officer, "but, in fact, represented a step backwards in the process."
The owners are pushing for "cost certainty," but the players say that is another term for "salary cap," something they refuse to accept. Daly dismissed Thursday's proposal - the union's first since October - saying the union "simply repackaged its original unacceptable and ineffective proposal from 15 months ago, and even watered it down."
The players, who say the bulk of the league's losses come from only five or six clubs, would prefer a luxury tax and/or revenue sharing, but Daly said the union's latest proposal would mean that more than half of the NHL teams still would lose money and that a third of the 30 teams would lose at least $10-million a year.
The NHL said no new talks are scheduled. WORLD CUP: Team USA looked old and tired in the first two preliminary games of the World Cup of Hockey and seemed headed for an early exit. Now, after an impressive 5-3 victory against Russia that catapulted the team into today's semifinal with Finland, the view of the Americans has gone from being "old" to "experienced."
Seventeen of the 26 players are 30 or older, and it was the unit of left wing Keith Tkachuk, 32, center Mike Modano, 34, and right wing Bill Guerin, 33, that powered the Americans on Tuesday. They have played a combined 42 NHL seasons and competed in 213 games for USA Hockey.
"Those guys aren't old, they've just got a lot of experience," said captain Chris Chelios, 42. "In age, they're still young and at the top of their game. (Age) is not even an issue and now, hopefully, we've silenced that."
COYOTES: Center Mike Ricci will wear No. 40 next season to honor Pat Tillman, who left the NFL's Arizona Cardinals and a multimillion-dollar contract to join the Army Rangers and was killed in Afghanistan.
- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.