Penguins center Sidney Crosby was planning to to fly back to Pittsburgh from New York late Thursday evening, just hours after the labor negotiations that he had helped to jump-start earlier in the week had broken down.
Crosby seemed genuinely shocked that the negotiations had broken off, in part because he believes that the NHL Players' Association had genuinely tried to address issues the owners felt had to be taken care of in the next collective bargaining agreement.
"We definitely moved," Crosby said. "There was no doubt about that."
While announcing the NHL's rejection of a counter-proposal the union put forth late Thursday afternoon, Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league had been anticipating a yes-or-no response to its most recent offer, not a plan that "cherry-picked" items the union found to its liking.
Crosby, though, said the NHLPA did not think it was responding to a take-it-or-leave-it offer, and that the union's counter was intended to find common ground with the league.
"I'm surprised (the talks broke off)," he said. "We feel like we made moves in their direction."
Crosby also expressed surprise that Bettman announced that, in light of today's developments, everything the NHL has put on the bargaining table during three days of negotiations this week has been removed.
"I have a hard time feeling in any negotiation, whatever that negotiation might be about, that if someone feels like they want to take everything off the table, that that's someone who's looking to make a deal."
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