NHL, NHLPA sit down with federal mediators

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NHL, NHLPA sit down with federal mediators

The NHL and NHLPA sat down with federal mediators for the first time on Wednesday, and spent an uneventful day getting the third party up to speed in the lockout thats approaching 80 days. The meetings took place in Washington DC, and there werent many details released following the briefing. The NHL exited without making any kind of statement, and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr basically confirmed their group sat down with mediators.
A small group of NHLPA staff and players met today with two experienced FMCS (Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service) mediators. We expect that these discussions will resume on Thursday," said Fehr after those meetings commenced.
Third party mediation was also attempted during the 2004-05 lockout; once to save the season in Hail Mary effort during the month of February in 2005 before the season was cancelled three days later. Then the two sides attempted mediation again during the following summer with a productive outcome. The hope is an objective party will help get the negotiating process on track, but the problem is that federal mediation is non-binding. Therefore both the NHL and NHLPA dont have to follow any of the suggestions brought forth by the mediators.
Both the NHL and NHLPA will once again meet with mediators on Thursday, and perhaps there will be a better indication of traction in the discussions. The NHL and NHLPA sit 182 million apart in a make whole provision to guarantee contracts and are diametrically opposed to a number of player contract rights among other issues in negotiations.