Playing the Winter Classic card and cancelling the Jan. 1 marquee NHL event Friday could signal that owners are all-in to extend the lockout well beyond Nov. 30. Then again, it could be just that. A threat.

"I'm sure it's part of a negotiating ploy, but we have to take every deadline that they give us seriously," said Vancouver Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider, who may have a lockout playing option in Switzerland as a dual citizen. "If they want to save it, you'd think they would be more pro-active and start negotiating. We're willing to talk about everything and they're willing to talk about one thing and one thing only. There are many aspects of their proposal we don't like and it's not just the money. Both sides need to get back with no pre-conditions."

A work-stoppage clause in the NHL's contract with the University of Michigan allows the league to opt out of the rental agreement for the 110,000-seat football stadium by Friday and forward a $100,000 penalty. That was already paid in a $3 million rental agreement, but cancelling beyond Friday would add to out-of-pocket expenses. The NHL requires six weeks to construct rinks in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Comerica Park in Detroit as part of a week-long hockey festival.