NEW YORK -- The NHL seemed headed for another lockout Friday as neither team owners nor players showed interest in getting back to contract negotiations a day before the old labor deal was set to expire.
Brief conversations late Thursday and Friday between leaders on the two sides failed to spur more formal talks -- in fact, the idea of restarting negotiations didn't even come up. The current collective bargaining agreement that ended the season-long lockout in 2005 expires at midnight EDT on Saturday, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has said a lockout would kick in immediately if a new deal hasn't been reached.
"It's their decision," defenseman Mike Weaver, the Florida Panthers' player representative said Friday. "When that padlock comes out, it's pretty much Bettman's decision on there."
The lockout would mark the NHL's fourth work stoppage since 1992.
On Thursday night, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly spoke to players' association special counsel Steve Fehr, the brother of union executive director Donald Fehr. The discussions mostly dealt with answering questions each side have about current proposals.
Bettman has said the season won't start without a new deal. Preseason games are scheduled to start on Sept. 23, and the regular season is to begin on Oct. 11.
"We have been clear that the collective bargaining agreement, upon its expiration, needs to have a successful agreement
On Friday, the players' association submitted an application to the Quebec labor relations board to declare that the impending lockout is illegal in the province. The NHLPA and 16 Montreal players asked the board to make an interim ruling before the lockout is scheduled to begin in a bid to allow the Canadiens to attend training camp.