The NHL and NHLPA met in what began as an undisclosed location on Wednesday, and they probably hoped it would stay that way. That didnt happen. Onlookers (fans, media, etc.) watched Wednesdays meeting and hoped some progress would be made.
Doesnt seem like that happened, either.
The two sides met or as reported, met separately with federal mediators -- in New Jersey on Wednesday. But reports out of the talks state that not much progress was made toward a new collective bargaining agreement and an end to a lockout that has now reached Day 88.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told reporters that, there is no conclusion to this round of the process right now.
Mediators reportedly told players that the leagues last offer was available if the union would accept it. But Brendan Morrison, who last played for the Chicago Blackhawks, told reporters the players still arent accepting that deal.
I thought the gap would be closed much quicker, but it hasnt come to fruition yet. So we have to keep working, Morrison said. Its good in a sense were here, and bad in a sense there is no progress.
It was the second time the two sides used mediators in negotiations. Two weeks ago mediators met with the league and PA for two days before deciding the sides were too far apart. Today, they talked with each side separately. Basically, it proved futile both times.
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr told reporters, there were discussions of the various issues involved and now far apart we are and where we go from here. I cant tell you that any progress was made.
There are no new talks planned at the moment.
Blackhawks defenseman (and player representative) Steve Montador and forward Jamal Mayers were also at Wednesdays meeting.
Its extremely frustrating where we are, said Mayers, who talked of how close on Monday. The league maintains thats not the case. The leagues package deal, or take-it-or-leave-it offer, makes completing a deal difficult, considering all our movement in last Thursdays proposal.
Games are currently canceled through Dec. 30. Still, some optimism remains that the two sides will work things out and salvage a partial season. Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, who has played overseas with EHC Biel (Switzerland), is currently back in Chicago. Hes scheduled to go back to Switzerland on Sunday if the lockout remains unresolved; but he hopes things are, and that he stays to prepare for training camp instead.