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.
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.