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NHL makes new proposal in effort to save season

FILE - In this Dec. 6 2012 file phoNHL Commissioner Gary Bettman right deputy commissioner Bill Daly speak reporters New

FILE - In this Dec. 6, 2012, file photo, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, right, and deputy commissioner Bill Daly speak to reporters in New York. The NHL made a new proposal to the players' association, hoping to spark talks to end the long lockout and save the hockey season. Daly said Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, the league made its offer Thursday and was waiting for a response. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

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Updated: January 30, 2013 6:10AM

With the clock ticking down to zero hour and both sides taking to the courts in recent weeks, the NHL made a new proposal to the players union Thursday — one that makes some concessions in the hopes of ending the 104-day lockout and salvaging a shortened season.

‘‘I can confirm that we delivered to the union a new, comprehensive proposal for a successor [collective-bargaining agreement],’’ NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. ‘‘We are not prepared to discuss the details of our proposal at this time. We are hopeful that once the union’s staff and negotiating committee have had an opportunity to thoroughly review and consider our new proposal, they will share it with the players. We want to be back on the ice as soon as possible.’’

An report said the league raised its proposed limit on the length of player contracts from five years to six years (seven, if a player is re-signing with his own team), doubled the year-to-year
salary variance from 5 percent to 10 percent and allowed each team one amnesty buyout before next season that won’t count against the salary cap. The proposal is for a
10-year contract, with each side able to opt out after eight years.

Multiple reports said the NHL wants an abridged training camp to open by Jan. 12, with the season
beginning Jan. 18 or 19. The NHL and the union are expected to talk via conference call Saturday and have tentative plans to meet Sunday.

Commissioner Gary Bettman has said anything less than a
48-game schedule wouldn’t have enough ‘‘integrity’’ to be worth playing, so time is running out. All games through Jan. 14 have been canceled, as have the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium and the All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, the lockout ended Jan. 11,
with the 48-game schedule — with every game coming against conference opponents — beginning
Jan. 20 and running through May 3.

In 2004-05, the NHL waited until mid-February before canceling the entire season, becoming the first North American pro sports league to do so because of a labor dispute.

The sides haven’t met since
Dec. 13. Since then, the NHL has filed suit in U.S. District Court to prove the legality of the lockout, while the union — which has taken steps to dissolve and become a trade association so it can file
antitrust lawsuits — filed an unfair labor-practice charge with the
National Labor Relations Board.

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