Mediator meets with NHL, NHLPA in search of middle ground Staff

1/5/2013 12:15:06 AM

Meeting with both the NHL and the NHL Players' Association separately throughout Friday in what the NHLPA described as "shuttle mediation," federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh continued to search for middle ground on unresolved issues between the two sides.

According to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun, both sides told the mediator they've got some room to move on open issues.

TSN's Aaron Ward has reported that mediation will resume on Saturday at approximately 10:30am et.

"Credit where credit is due. Mediation creates enough traction to keep process moving and paints a general view of positivity," tweeted TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger on Friday night.

The NHLPA, which met internally on Friday morning while awaiting the arrival of Beckenbaugh, confirmed that players who are present at meetings in New York are Chris Campoli, Mathieu Darche, Shane Doan, Andrew Ference, Ron Hainsey, Jamal Mayers, George Parros, and Kevin Westgarth.

Dreger added that NHL owners will not be returning to the CBA negotiations.

Progress towards a new collective bargaining agreement took a sidestep on Thursday as only two smaller group meetings over hockey-related revenue and pensions took place. The NHLPA also held a conference call on Thursday afternoon, with the players holding a 48-hour vote to give the executive board the authority once again to file a disclaimer of interest. The voting wraps up at 6pm et on Saturday and, according to TSN legal analyst Eric Macramalla, the disclaimer of interest could be filed as early as this weekend.

According to LeBrun, both sides did make some progress through Wednesday's talks on the following issues:

- The NHLPA agreed to go to 10 years in CBA length, matching the NHL's desire on term for the deal (although the NHLPA has an opt out after Year 7 while the NHL would prefer one after Year 8).

- The NHL agreed to the NHLPA's request to up its compliance buyout to two per team, up from one per team before the 2013-14 season. 

- The NHL upped its salary variance rule on contracts to 30 percent, up from the five percent and then 10 percent demands it had had in previous offers.

However, sources tell TSN that seven or eight unresolved issues remain, the three most meaningful ones being the second-year cap number, the length of player contacts and the players' pension.

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