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THEY SAID IT

Reaction from both sides on Thursday:

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, in a note to the Free Press, to explain why the NHLPA's Option 3, which sounds rather attractive, doesn't work: "That proposal essentially starts as a 57 percent proposal and never gets down to 50. It contemplates about $650 million in player salaries falling outside the system (Players' Share). Add to that that the PA basically said 'no' to every other element of our proposal. That's the reason."

NHLPA executive director Don Fehr on how quickly his side's ideas were rejected by the league and the four owners in attendance Thursday: "They did what they've done before. They took a very few minutes. They don't think about it very much. They don't analyze it and they don't talk to the other owners. They take less than 10 minutes. Maybe it was 15 minutes. We have a meeting and we're told two things. All three proposals are rejected in their entirety. And secondly, the proposal that we recently got is their best offer and they might be willing to tweak it around the edges.

"But that's it."

Fehr, on the NHL's proposal to "make whole" existing player contracts: "The players being made whole was being made whole by other players, not the owners. There's no protection that would be meaningful."

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews: "At this point, we're not going to overreact to anything the NHL tries to do or throw in our face. We're going to stay together and calm as a group."

Toews, on why the league's "make whole" proposal is no good: "To pay us back with our own money, to us that's not honouring current contracts."

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby: "We felt like we were going to get progress here today, so needless to say it's pretty disappointing. In a nutshell, it doesn't look good right now.

Crosby, a bit later: "There's still time."

Crosby, on what might happen next: "I don't really know how that works. If they were expecting one (proposal), they got three, so do we get three back? I'm not really into the whole process."

Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan: "The thing for me is that we did come to 50-50. Their big thing was they wanted us to meet them at 50-50, and we did. We're trying to everything we can to make it work. Hopefully the fans understand. When people ask for money they usually say, 'Give me your money or I'm going to hurt you.' They don't say, 'Give me your money AND I'm going to hurt you.' That's kind of the point we joke about but that's where we're at."

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, admitting that not all owners were on board with Tuesday's offer: "A number of franchises thought we went too far in what we offered to get the season going. But everybody, even those clubs, are so committed to try to get the game going that we gave it our best shot. It was the best we could do. We gave it our best shot. We gave the players association what we had to give."

Bettman: "Any work stoppage is just a tremendous hardship on anyone associated with the game. The franchises all believe and are supportive of the positions that have been taken. We're extraordinarily unhappy with each passing day with which we can't be planning to play the season. As the calendar ticks away, we're going to do some more cancellations."

Bettman, on the deal he presented to the NHLPA on Tuesday: "We still believe that is a fair and balanced deal, one that would give this league and our franchises long-term stability, something that we still very much believe in."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 19, 2012 C2

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