NHL, players' union to meet again with mediators

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks to reporters in

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks to reporters in Glendale, Ariz., before a hockey game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Phoenix Coyotes. (March 8, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

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Federal mediators are expected to meet with negotiators for the NHL and NHLPA again Thursday after Wednesday's initial session of non-binding talks while hoping to shape a labor settlement to end the 73-day lockout.

The intervention was announced Monday after the director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, George H. Cohen, had spoken informally with each side and both the league and the union agreed to allow mediators to join the bargaining. The FMCS and the league have said there would be no comment on the proceedings.

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Wednesday's session, which ended at 7:15 p.m., was the first time that union and league officials had met face-to-face in a week. Without a collective bargaining agreement, the NHL locked out its players on Sept. 16, negotiations have stalemated and 422 games have been canceled through Dec. 14.

The issues of how to divide hockey-related revenues for a 50-50 split and opposing views on free agency, contract lengths and arbitration remain stumbling blocks.

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