It played out like this:
The players arrived with, depending on the source, three or four counter-proposals. An hour later, Gary Bettman left having rejected three of them with a discouraged look and more strong rhetoric for the cameras.
Meanwhile, the players continue not playing (at least on this continent), and fans continue watching something else.
Perhaps Bettman will cancel the Winter Classic in usually hockey-crazy Detroit while the Tigers are playing in the World Series next week. That might be the perfect next public relations step for a game that’s soiling any/all good will they had built with a fan base that’s been burned too many times – more than any other major professional sport- in recent years.