The NHL season could be cancelled next week if the dispute between team owners and players is not finally resolved.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said a deal must be agreed by the weekend if the season is to be saved.
The players were locked out by the owners on 15 September after talks on a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) collapsed amid much acrimony.
The owners want salary capping to have "cost certainty", but the players are fiercely opposed to any such move.
Claiming they have lost $1.8bn over the last decade and close to $500m in the last two years, the owners are seeking to rein in rocketing payrolls.
If a new CBA cannot be worked out, the NHL would become the first North American professional sport to lose an entire season because of a labour dispute.
Bettman said: "Obviously we will listen to everything the union has to
say, but we've given all we can give and gone as far as we can go.
"This has just been a very difficult, frustrating process and we're sorry. But we have to go through it."
The lockout has wiped out 813 of the 1,230 regular-season games so far, as well as this weekend's scheduled All-Star game.