NHL and NHL Players' Association begin third straight day with mediator
By Chris Johnston, The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, January 5, 2013 12:30PM EST
NEW YORK--For now, the NHL's labour dispute lies in the hands of Scot L. Beckenbaugh.
The U.S. federal mediator continued to shuttle between the NHL and NHL Players' Association on Saturday morning for independent sessions with each group.
Beckenbaugh spent almost 13 hours conducting meetings on Friday, making the four block walk between the league office and the NHLPA's hotel on multiple occasions.
The sides haven't been in the same room with one another since a lengthy bargaining session that started on Wednesday night and stretched into Thursday morning.
With progress being made at that time, the NHLPA elected not to declare a "disclaimer of interest" prior to a self-imposed deadline just before midnight on Wednesday.
However, a second vote of players that wraps up Saturday at 6 p.m. ET was started which would restore the NHLPA's executive board's ability to disclaim. If it passes, the 30-member committee would have the authority to dissolve the union, which would open the door for anti-trust lawsuits and bring even more uncertainty to the bargaining process.
The NHL and NHLPA are seeking to reach an agreement prior to Jan. 11 to salvage a shortened 48-game season.
The sides have moved closer to one another with a series of proposals since Dec. 27, but still need to find agreement on the salary cap for next season, the length of player contracts, salary variance, the length of the CBA and pension plan, among other things.
The lockout enters its 16th week on Sunday.
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr speaks to the press following collective bargaining talks in this October 2012 file photo. (Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS)