NHL, union meet separately with mediator

NHL, union meet separately with mediator
January 4, 2013, 3:26 pm
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NEW YORK -- They sat and they stewed.For a second consecutive day, representatives from the NHL sat patiently in their Manhattan offices waiting to hear from the NHLPA when full CBA negotiations will resume.Not that there is any hope that when talks do resume some kind of breakthrough will occur.Low, deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an e-mail Friday morning on what he was expecting Friday as the lockout entered its 111th day.The mediation ended shortly before 11 p.m. and talks will resume on Saturday.
However, that doesnt mean this was a completely fruitless exercise in futility because the mediator, Scot Beckenbaugh, spent the entire day walking the streets of Manhattan, back and forth from league headquarters to the union hotel, trying to seek middle ground on the various issues that divide the parties. The fact that Beckenbaugh spent at least 12 doing this is a clear indication that the two sides were making progress through him.
Reportedly, both sides said there was room for compromise.Its entirely possible that union executive director Donald Fehr might be stalling the process until he has the final vote results on disclaimer of interest.Those results will be available by Saturday night, even though he has already gotten 75 percent of the votes in, according to Sportsnet.ca. All the union needs to file its disclaimer is 51 percent of the membership to say yes, and it is believed it already have an overwhelming number supporting the filing.If that were the case, the next full CBA meeting might not occur until Sunday -- five days before the NHLs drop dead deadline.There has not been a full bargaining session between all the particulars since Wednesday.What caused all this breakdown?Any gains made earlier this week seemingly went by the wayside on Thursday amid rancor between both sides over the leagues attempt to alter the definition of HRR hockey-related revenue late Wednesday night.Although that was quickly resolved on Thursday, the union quickly responded by asking its membership for another vote on filing a disclaimer of interest. That angered the league, as did the unions failure to return to the bargaining table.Recall that Fehr backed off filing disclaimer on Wednesday and the union now feels it was a tactical error because the league seemed to stiffen in its stance.Obviously, neither side is feeling warm and fuzzy about the other right now with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettmans Jan. 11 deadline to get a CBA very much in sight.Among the crucial points still unresolved:
salary cap in 2013-14
term limits on player contracts
salary variance within player contracts

While the above doesnt seem like much of a hill to climb, given the short amount of time left to salvage the season it can easily resemble a mountain.

E-mail Tim Panaccio at tpanotch@comcast.net