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NHL: League Makes Little Progress in Latest Talks with NHLPA

Bill Daly represented the NHL in brief meetings with the NHLPA Oct. 2.
Bill Daly represented the NHL in brief meetings with the NHLPA Oct. 2.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 2012

Hockey fans woke up to the optimistic news report that representatives between the NHL and the Players Association would be meeting again on Oct. 2.

After talking over issues that did not include Hockey Related Revenue (HRR), the two sides took a break on Monday. However, the decision to meet again on Tuesday morning seemed like a positive step.

Those hopes were quickly dashed. The talks between Steve Fehr of the NHLPA and the NHL's Bill Daly—the second in command for both sides in the negotiations—were brief.

The meetings broke up after two hours, and Daly's assessment was not positive. "Today was not overly encouraging," ESPN New York's Katie Strang quotes Daly.

The lockout started Sept., 15 and all preseason games have been cancelled. The regular season is scheduled to begin Oct. 11, and the games in the first week of the season appear to be in serious jeopardy. Regular season game could begin to get canceled as soon as Oct. 3, according to CBC.ca.

The NHL and NHLPA have talked in person and remained in contact over the phone since the lockout began, but the two sides have not exchanged formal proposals since that date.

There is increased frustration on both sides. While NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has not hesitated to point out NHLPA shortcomings, NHLPA boss Donald Fehr has impressively kept the negotiations above board.

However, when Daly expressed his frustration with the NHLPA, Fehr's response was that the league should "look in the mirror."

Daly suggested that the idea of getting a federal mediator involved in the negotiating process may be raised.

A mediator is used when both sides want to get a deal done but just can't compromise on their own. "A mediator can only be helpful if both sides are willing to embrace it and compromise," Daly told ESPNNewYork.com. "We certainly haven't ruled out that possibility."

However, if one side or the other is not interested in compromising and merely wants to give the appearance of negotiating, a mediator's work would merely be a waste of time.

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