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Mediation continues for NHL, NHLPA

Saturday, January 05, 2013   by: Staff
Mediation continues for NHL, NHLPAFILE - In this Dec. 6, 2012, file photo, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, right, and deputy commissioner Bill Daly speak to reporters in New York. Bettman has told the players union that a deal must be in place by Jan. 11 in order for a 48-game season to be played beginning eight days later.(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

NEW YORK, N.Y. - 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.

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