Bill Daly expected to talk with NHL Players' Association leadership about several issues Wednesday, but make no mistake, those issues were non-pressing and can't stave off a potential Sept. 15 lockout.
Daly, the NHL deputy commissioner, said formal negotiations remain at an impasse.
"With no talks scheduled, we've stalled - at least temporarily," Daly said. "Hopefully, that changes soon, but it certainly does create a much higher risk that camps won't be opening on time."
Daly said economic discussions will continue when "one side or the other has a brilliant idea for moving this forward."
More than 200 players arrive in New York next week for two days of meetings with NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will hold a Board of Governors meeting in New York today.
While it has been reported that Bettman would seek approval there to lock out the players if a new collective bargaining agreement isn't in place by midnight Sept. 15, the commissioner already has that approval, Daly said.
"It's to update the board on collective bargaining, and we'll see what they have to say."
When talks broke off Friday, Bettman voiced disappointment that the NHLPA didn't officially counter the league's proposal three days prior. He said it appeared the union didn't consider Sept. 15 the real deadline - the insinuation being that games don't begin until October and paycheques don't start arriving until October.
But Bettman said concessions would be "more difficult" after Sept. 15.
Damage to the business already has begun - prospects tournaments were cancelled, the NHL didn't schedule season-opening games in Europe and, Wednesday, scrapped its player media tour.
Daly said the mere possibility of a lockout is "affecting teams' abilities to do business."
The NHL took in a record $3.3 billion in gross revenue last season, but Daly said the league is not profitable as a whole, and is seeking to lessen the players' share of revenues.