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NHL lockout likely after NHLPA rejects latest offer

NHL Players' Association chief Donald Fehr says the NHL and NHLPA remain far apart after the latest attempt to avoid a lockout failed. The NHLPA rejected the NHL's counter-proposal, which included reducing the players' share of hockey-related revenue from 57-percent to 49-percent. The lockout will likely begin Saturday night.
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The Minnesota Wild are preparing for training camps, but the chance that the camps actually open across the NHL as scheduled is growing less likely by the day, the Star Tribune reports. Labor negotiations between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association ended abruptly Friday. No future talks have been scheduled, and with the collective bargaining agreement set to expire in 12 days, a second lockout in eight years appears inevitable.

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The NHL's collective bargaining agreement expires September 15th, and a wide gap still separates the NHL and NHL Players' Association. While discussions are ongoing, Minnesota Wild player representative Darrell Powe says they "need to get a system in place that works for everyone."

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The NHL put a new proposal in front of the NHL Players' Association on Tuesday in hopes of avoiding a possible lockout. Players' association president Donald Fehr says he doesn't feel "better or worse" about the newest offer. Wild star Zach Parise says the players are "ready to play."

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Michael Russo of the Star Tribune points out that more than 240 players who played in the 2003-04 NHL season never played again after a lockout cancelled the entire 2004-05 season. The current lockout could be end of the line for a number of Wild players, and maybe the end of Matt Cullen's career.