Entering Day 104 of the NHL lockout, and no sign of any formal talks between the NHL and NHLPA.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: There’s been “multiple contacts” this week between NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr, but no immediate plans to stage formal negotiations anytime soon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I suggested yesterday, the NHL appears to be waiting to see if the PA will file for disclaimer of interest on January 2. If they do, then this moves to the courts, where the league hopes either a New York court and/or the US National Labor Relations Board rules against the disclaimer. If either does, that could leave the PA with only two choices: file for decertification (which will take weeks, drag this lockout on for months, and effectively kill the remainder of this season), or return to the negotiating table, where the NHL isn’t likely to be in a forgiving mood.

Jason Chimera talks about difficulty of CBA talks with NHL.

Jason Chimera talks about difficulty of CBA talks with NHL.

CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Chuck Gormley interviewed Capitals players Jason Chimera and Brooks Laich on the current situation. The pair doubt the PA would be receptive to the league’s previous offer if it were re-tabled, explaining the high escrow (possibly 20 – 30 percent) as a reason why the players wouldn’t accept it.

Chimera believes there are only a few sticking points between the two sides, suggesting if the owners showed a little more flexibility, a deal could be reached. “We’ve had record revenues. We keep hearing, ‘We’ve got to cut your salaries; we’ve got to cut you benefits; we’ve got to cut your everything. We need something that is better than what we had before to entice us to make a deal, but we haven’t seen any of that”, said Chimera, who compared negotiating with the league to chasing a chicken. “I don’t know if they’re trying to crush the union or what”, he said. “We gave a lot.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crushing the union certainly seems to be what the league negotiators are going for again. They got the players to concede to a 50-50 revenue split, accept a “make whole” provision on existing contracts rather than owners honoring the remaining full value, and term limits on contracts. To use a war metaphor, the players have surrendered, but the league continues to bomb the city.

ESPN.COM: Scott Burnside on the “sting of shame” rising among some NHL people – management as well as players – over the current lockout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While that shame remain a painful memory preventing future labor disputes resulting in lockouts? If so, then it might be worthwhile in the long run.

THE SPORTING NEWS: Jesse Spector points out NHL commissioner Gary Bettman can take credit for spreading hockey throughout the United States.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jesse certainly isn’t defending Bettman, just giving him credit where it is due.

PHOENIX BUSINESS JOURNAL: The city of Glendale signed its arena lease agreement with prospective Phoenix Coyotes buyer Greg Jamison this week, marking a significant step toward the sale of the club to Jamison.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: David Shoalts reports Jamison’s attempt to “find investors through the Immigrant Investor Program of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services” has failed. James Mirtle, meanwhile, spoke to S&E Sponsorship Group president Brian Cooper over the possible damage the lockout has done to the NHL brand and its fan base.