Union denies rumor of late bid for talks By Mike Brehm, USA TODAY Almost since Commissioner Gary Bettman canceled the season Wednesday afternoon, rumors have swirled about behind-the-scenes efforts by management and players to try to reopen talks to save the season. The NHL Players Association shot down that talk Thursday night. "We've had no contact with the league office," senior director Ted Saskin said. "All the players we've spoken to understand the basis on which Gary canceled the season. As a result, there's no expectations among players that there would be any further negotiations." Talks ended Tuesday night when Bettman gave the players a take-it-or-leave-it $42.5 million payroll cap. He then rejected the union's $49 million counterproposal. Saskin said the rumors aren't coming from the players' side. "It sounds like certain owners weren't happy with the finality that Gary attached to his last proposal," Saskin said.