Sports shorts: NHL players say they're close, then talks break down

2012-12-07T00:00:00Z Sports shorts: NHL players say they're close, then talks break downThe Associated Press The Associated Press
December 07, 2012 12:00 am  • 

NEW YORK - Instead of closing in on a deal, the NHL and the players' association are moved further apart.

Union executive director Donald Fehr began the first of his two news conferences Thursday night by proclaiming he believed the sides had agreements on such issues as actual dollars, and then returned moments later to reveal the NHL rejected everything his side offered.

Hot-button topics such as the "make-whole" provision on existing contracts not only weren't settled, but are no longer being offered by the league. Forget that owners were willing to pay up to $300 million to cover the costs, now commissioner Gary Bettman is saying the entire concept is off the table - along with everything else the league proposed in the past two days.

"They knew there was a major gulf between us and yet they came down here and told you we were close," deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.

Fehr vehemently disputed that assessment and stuck to his opinion that the sides really aren't far apart, saying they are "clearly very close if not on top of one another."

When the NHL agreed to increase its make-whole offer of deferred payments from $211 million to $300 million, it was part of a proposed package that required the union to agree on three nonnegotiable points. Instead, the players' association accepted the raise in funds, but then made counterproposals on the issues the league stated had no wiggle room.

That ended Thursday's delayed meeting after just an hour and sent the NHL negotiating team back to the league office.

The sides won't meet again before Saturday, at the earliest.

Baseball

D-backs complete pair of deals

PHOENIX - The Diamondbacks completed one-year contracts with free agent Eric Hinske and catcher Wil Nieves on Thursday.

Hinske, an infielder-outfielder, and the Diamondbacks agreed to their deal Tuesday at baseball's winter meetings. Nieves and the team came to terms on a contract Wednesday.

• The Phillies acquired center fielder Ben Revere from the Twins for right-handers Vance Worley and Trevor May.

• Reliever Koji Uehara has reached an agreement with the Red Sox. The 37-year-old right-hander spent the last two seasons with Texas.

• Free agent first baseman James Loney and the Rays completed their $2 million, one-year contract.

Auto racing

IndyCar hands out awards

INDIANAPOLIS - Ryan Hunter-Reay picked up his IndyCar championship and $1 million bonus Thursday night during the season-ending banquet.

Simon Pagenaud was honored as rookie of the year, and Charlie Kimball won the Tony Renna Rising Star Award.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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