So they will meet again, the power brokers in the NHL and the NHLPA, with two federal mediators, and I hear there may very well be another session Friday.
That doesn't mean there's a light at the end of the lockout tunnel, because Wednesday's session was more introductory, with the sides meeting separately with the mediators, or at least that's what a statement from Donald Fehr last night seemed to indicate.
"A small group of NHLPA staff and players met today with two experienced FMCS mediators. We expect that these discussions will resume on Thursday.”
The director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, George Cohen, has asked for a cone of silence over the talks, until there is something to report. So far, each side has adhered to that request.
But there's a sense that although this round of non-binding talks might create a little movement, or at least a sense of where the wiggle room is, the meeting to which everyone in the business is pointing is the Board of Governors gathering in New York on Wednesday, Dec. 5.
So you can bet no mediation will be scheduled that day, in fact, no one is even sure whether they will meet over the weekend.
At that meeting, the cards will be on the table. Owners can have their say whether talks should continue, whether offers on the table will change, or if a drop-dead date for a shortened season should be set. The NHLPA's next move in this lingering chess match will presumably come after that.