The National Hockey League Players' Association says its proposal for a new collective bargaining agreement is solid and it's now up to team owners to come to the bargaining table.
The union and 62 agents presented a unified front as they emerged from a six-hour informational session in Chicago Wednesday. The players are answering the league's hard stance with one of their own, offering little hope for resolution of the lockout that threatens to wipe out the entire season.
Player agent Ritch Winter said if the owners refuse to budge, hockey won't be played "for a long, long time." He said he does not think the owners have paid enough attention to the framework of the players' most recent proposal and don't understand it. But the NHL's chief legal counsel disputed that notion.
The union's plan centers on a luxury tax instead of a salary cap. The NHL rejected it because the league says that won't achieve "cost certainty" - a term the players say is tantamount to a salary cap.
The player lockout was imposed by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman after the collective bargaining agreement expired September 15. The mid-season All-Star game has already been canceled.
Some information for this story provided by AP.