Despite regaining hope that the season would be saved by the end of the December, the NHL has reportedly shot down the players' latest offer and has indefinitely called off labor talks.
The news came shortly after executive director of the players union Donald Fehr addressed the media regarding a new deal that the players believed would finally end the dispute. According to Jesse Spector of Sporting News, Bill Daly attempted to call Steve Fehr of the players union during the first press conference, but Fehr was unable to make the announcement until after the presser ended.
Although the quick response from the league shocked many people, the results of today's talks were capped off by the owners calling Fehr a "suicide bomber" and the most of the owners leaving the meeting. Gary Bettman addressed the media shortly after Fehr and called this week "a rollercoaster for him".
Quite frankly, it has been much more of a rollercoaster for the fans who are on the verge of losing a second NHL season since 2004. Gary Bettman may be stressed over the recent turnaround of the talks, but nothing compares to the heartbreak and agony that NHL fans are going through right now.
Despite the recently reported optimism, the NHL and NHLPA are still far off on a number of key items. These topics include max contracts for players and the length of the new CBA. According to Pierre LeBrun, the term lengths of the contract will be the "hill the league dies on".
Both sides also continue to blame one another for the lack of movement and Bettman blamed the union for the sudden stop in progress that looked so promising last night. All in all, both sides continue their bickering with no signs of positive outcome in sight.
People will say they are angry, upset and even fed up with today's results. But the one word that sums up today's labor talks is disappointed. The players are disappointed, Gary Bettman is disappointed and the fans are at a loss for words as their disappointment outweighs their hope.
Tom Gulitti of The Record provided some hope for fans on Twitter saying that tonight may have been bad but he believes the two sides will be back at the table within 7-10 days. The 1994 season started in late January, so today's breakdown doesn't necessarily mean there is no chance at a shortened regular season.
The confusion from today's results just adds to the already chaotic negotiations that have been going on since the NHL season ended in June. While there is still a chance that some hockey will be played this season, the window of opportunity is closing quicker than the league's response today.
Follow Joe on Twitter for NHL updates: @jkuchie