By IRA PODELL
AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- The rhetoric is rising, while the time before the planned start of the NHL regular season is running out.
And now it seems more likely than not that regular-season games will be canceled before the league and the players' association even get back to the negotiating table.
The sides broke off talks Tuesday after just two hours, and it was hard to find optimism anywhere that the season would avoid a major disruption -- just seven years after a full season was lost to a lockout.
"Not prepared to speculate on next steps at this point," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press in an email on Wednesday. "Obviously, we've been saying for over a month now that we would welcome a new proposal from the Players' Association. That continues to be our position.
"(It's) not a constructive position to say, Here's our first offer. We think it's really good. Call us back when you are ...