The day after labor negotiations between the NHL and the players' union imploded, the face of the league, Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, strongly hinted he would not return to the talks, and former Flyers winger Scottie Upshall harshly criticized the league for its stubbornness.
Crosby attended meetings in New York City during the week and seemed baffled by what had transpired.
"I think it's pretty tough to get guys' trust back after that," he told reporters after working out at a rink in suburban Pittsburgh on Friday.
The league rejected the players' counterproposal before NHL officials went on a verbal tirade against union leader Donald Fehr, saying he had misled everyone by claiming the parties were close to an agreement.
"We don't understand anything anymore," Upshall, a Florida Panthers winger, said in a post on Twitter. "They [owners] want less salaries, done. Less rights, done. Anything else? U want our arms and legs too?"
Dustin Penner of the Los Angeles Kings added on Twitter: "Why is common sense so uncommon?"
Based on the dollar figures that have been exchanged on various issues, the league and the union seem closer to an agreement than at any point in the lockout, which reached 83 days on Friday. That said, both sides are furious that the stalemate is lingering.
Games have been canceled through Dec. 14, and more cancellations are expected to be announced Monday. The NHL could eventually cancel the entire season for the second time since 2004-05.
"It absolutely is something that torments me," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said of the possibility. "I'm not happy with this, but I've got to play the hand that I'm dealt."
Crosby is probably done being involved in negotiations and seems on the verge of playing overseas in the Swiss League.
"This stuff is getting ridiculous, all these games," he said. "I'm here to play hockey. I'm not here to negotiate. I support the players. I witnessed how hard guys worked and how bad they want this to work. But to see this happen, it's terrible. It makes everyone look bad."
The league put together a three-part package that asked the union to agree to a 10-year collective bargaining agreement, five-year player contracts, and no compliance buyouts or escrow caps.
No thanks, the union responded on Thursday.
The league then pulled its $300 million "make whole" offer - money that would go toward guaranteeing contracts - off the table. It made that proposal based on a 10-year CBA that included an "escape clause" after eight years, along with a five-year maximum limit on player contracts, with a yearly increase capped at 5 percent.
The players want an eight-year CBA with a six-year "opt out" plus an eight-year maximum on individual contracts, with yearly increases that could go to 25 percent.
Thursday's unintentional comedy show - Fehr was claiming the sides were close to an agreement at the same time the union was receiving a voice mail from the league, soundly rejecting its counterproposal - has soured fans. Many posted scathing comments Friday on Twitter.
Sandy benefit. Organizers of "Operation Hat Trick," the Nov. 24 benefit hockey game in Atlantic City, said NHL players raised $500,000 for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.