NHL sides talk to mediators, not each other

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks to reporters after NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks to reporters after an NHL Board of Governors meeting in New York. (Dec. 5, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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After 6 1/2 hours of talks between the NHL, its players' association and a federal mediator, the sides are seemingly where they were a week ago when talks broke off: The NHL's last proposal is a take-it-or-leave-it offer and the players do not appear interested in taking it.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, deputy commissioner Bill Daly and counsel Bob Batterman traveled to Iselin, N.J., to a field office of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and, with mediator Scot Beckenbaugh acting as go-between, held talks with PA chief Don Fehr and a group of 13 players, including Islanders signee Brad Boyes, though Daly said Wednesday evening that the two sides were never in the same room.

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Following the day-long process, the NHL had not moved off its proposal from last week: A pool of $300 million towards the "make-whole" provision to fulfill existing contracts, a 10-year collective bargaining agreement with a mutual option to reopen after eight years and five-year contract term limits (seven years for a team's own player).

According to reports, the NHL did not put that offer back on the table, but the mediator may have presented it to the players as a hypothetical situation.

"It wasn't much of a decision," NHL veteran Brendan Morrison told reporters after the meetings ended.

Daly told reporters that the end of the day's talks did not mean a "conclusion to the process," but it was apparent the NHL had no further interest in utilizing mediators as of Wednesday.

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