Last week, the NHL and NHLPA agreed to allow representatives from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to sit in on lockout meetings.
Guess what. After two "grueling" days, it didn't work.
Here's the statement from NHL Deputy Commisioner Bill Daly:
"Today, we concluded two days of mediation with FMCS mediators and representatives of the NHL Players' Association. After spending several hours with both sides over two days, the presiding mediators concluded that the parties remained far apart, and that no progress toward a resolution could be made through further mediation at this point in time. We are disappointed that the mediation process was not successful."
And the statement from NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr:
“Today, players and NHLPA staff, along with representatives of the league, concluded a second day of mediation under the auspices of the FMCS. This afternoon, the mediators informed the parties that they did not think it was productive to continue the discussions further today. The mediators indicated that they would stay in contact with the league and the NHLPA, and would call the parties back together when they thought the time was right.”
No matter which side you agree with in this whole negotiation, it's becoming clear that the players are not going to get anything close to what they are seeking. At this point, it may be in their best interest to accept the best offer they've been given, and just start playing.
To me, it seems like the owners, who are so unhappy with the long term deals they approved and signed, did so knowing the CBA would expire and they'd never have to pay the full amount. The league and owners are not bending here, and are not giving an inch.