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Crosby devastated by failure to yield deal

| Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, 1:10 p.m.
Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby speaks to reporters, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 in New York. Talks in the NHL labor fight broke down after just one hour Thursday night, and it isn't known when the league and the players' association would get back together. Associated Press
The Penguins' Sidney Crosby speaks to reporters Dec. 6, 2012, in New York. AP | Mary Altaffer

Sidney Crosby has had enough.

The Penguins' captain worked out at Southpointe with teammates only hours after a late plane ride home from New York, and he made it clear that the NHL labor dispute has left him wondering.

“To go through all that,” said Crosby, a primary figure in negotiations between the NHL and its players' union over the past four days, “and to get a response like that, is pretty devastating.”

The NHL swiftly turned down the NHLPA's latest proposal Thursday night, and news conferences from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Don Fehr have left many feeling the season is in jeopardy.

Crosby displayed strong disagreement with the tactics.

“Gary said at his press conference that they're drawing a line in the sand,” Crosby said. “Then just say that (during negotiations). Don't waste guys' time there discussing stuff for three days of trying to make something work, and then come out and say that.”

Negotiations aren't dead. Crosby, in fact, believes a deal is relatively close, at least in terms of the numbers.

Although many expected more games to be canceled Friday, the NHL remained silent.

The league and union did not speak Friday and will not meet this weekend. The sides could potentially meet next week, and there is a possibility they could speak over the weekend.

The NHL is expected to cancel another batch of games — likely through Dec. 31 — on Monday.

“The foundation is there,” Crosby said. “I don't think those talks were for nothing.”

Still, hockey's most famous player left New York with a bad taste in his mouth. He looked numb during Fehr's second news conference Thursday and made it clear that he doesn't have intentions to return to the negotiating table anytime soon.

“For me,” he said, “I think I'm going to do what I can. But after spending those three days there, I think it's pretty tough to get guys' trust back after that.”

The next destination for Crosby likely will be Europe, should the lockout go on much longer.

He said starting in September that he will play in Europe if a deal isn't reached. Crosby is clearly growing closer to joining fellow superstar Evgeni Malkin overseas.

Malkin is playing in the KHL. Crosby could sign a deal in the Swiss League soon.

“I just want to play hockey,” he said. “As far as whatever option is best, I'll start thinking about it a lot more. This stuff is getting ridiculous, all these games. 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.”

Crosby said he does not regret his decision to enter negotiations in New York.

“Not at all,” he said. “I think we all have the best interest in mind, and that's getting the game back on ice. Our proposal speaks for itself.”

So, too, does the reality that the season is on thin ice.

“I'm disappointed,” Crosby said. “This whole process shouldn't be to this point. I really thought we made progress over the few days. Both sides were clear on what they wanted. We found a way to move their way. If that's the position they're going to take, don't have everyone go discuss stuff and then throw it out the window like that.”

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jyohe@tribweb.com.

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