About a half-hour after Donald Fehr said the NHL labor war was almost over, it seemed to get bloodier Thursday night.
While the executive director of the NHL Players' Association was painting a rosy picture during a news conference in New York and saying the sides had "a complete agreement on dollars," the NHLPA was receiving a voice mail from the league, telling it that the union's proposal was rejected.
The lockout lives. The NHL season stays dark. Fact is, the season might be headed toward its death if you listen to commissioner Gary Bettman. Speaking in a controlled but irate tone, Bettman said all of the NHL's "make whole" proposal of $300 million -- the money would go toward guaranteeing players' contracts -- has come "off the table."
He added that owners who attended some meetings this week told him "the process is over." Bettman spoke after the NHL rejected a proposal from the players' union.
"It comes as a disappointment, obviously," Fehr said during the 82nd night of the lockout. "The next move is to talk to the membership and figure out what we do from there."
Bettman said he was "disappointed beyond belief" and that "we'll take a deep breath and try to regroup."
Thursday's meeting lasted about an hour, and it included 16 players, Fehr and his brother, Steve, who's special counsel to the NHLPA; NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly; and NHL attorney Bob Batterman.
Barry Alvarez -- Wisconsin's former coach-turned athletic director -- is returning to the sidelines in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 against Stanford after Bret Bielema bolted for Arkansas this week. But this is a one-night-only gig. Alvarez is already looking for a replacement for Bielema.
But it won't be Paul Chryst. The first-year Pitt coach and former Badgers offensive coordinator was considered the favorite to replace Bielema. Alvarez pulled some strings to help get Chryst the Panthers job and said it wouldn't be "appropriate" for him to hire Chryst back such a short time later. Chryst also says he is committed to Pitt.
Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award. Other winners included USC's Marqise Lee (Biletnikoff/wide receiver), Wisconsin's Montee Ball (Doak Walker/running back), Mississippi State's Johnthan Banks (Jim Thorpe/defensive back), Texas A&M offensive lineman Luke Joeckel (Outland/interior lineman), Tulane's Cairo Santos (Lou Groza/kicker), Louisiana Tech's Ryan Allen (Ray Guy/punter).
John Senden shot a 6-under 66 in calm morning conditions to take a two-stroke lead in the Australian Open in Sydney. Tom Watson, who won this event in 1984, had a 78 in windy afternoon conditions, and 14-year-old Guan Tianling opened with an 82. Also, officials are investigating a fight between caddies Grant Buchanan and Matt Keely near the practice chipping area. Buchanan is James Nitties' caddie, and Kelly works for Marc Leishman.
Tony Stewart passed up a chance to race for Roger Penske in the Indianapolis 500. The three-time NASCAR champion said he wouldn't attempt to race in both the Indy 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. "We just don't have the time to do it proper," said Stewart, who has raced five times in the Indy 500. But Brad Keselowski, the Sprint Cup champion for Penske, said he'd like to try the double.