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Federal mediator prompts no progress in NHL talks

The latest round of labor talks ended with the sides in different rooms.

The locked-out players association and league negotiators met separately Wednesday with a federal mediator in suburban New Jersey for about 61/2 hours, holding discussions that didn't appear to move the sides closer to a deal to save the season.

Neither side made a proposal on the lockout's 88th day.

Mediator Scot Beckenbaugh asked the 13 players who attended what the union's response would be if the league brought back to the table its last offer, which included three points it said were nonnegotiable: a player contract limit of five years, seven for a club to re-sign its own player; a 10-year term on the new collective bargaining agreement, with a mutual opt-out option after eight years; and no contract buyouts to help teams with the salary cap and no caps on escrow in the transition to the new deal.

"It wasn't much of a decision," free agent Brendan Morrison said. "I thought the gap would be closed much quicker, but it hasn't … so we have to keep working."

The Lightning's Marty St. Louis said he was asked by the union to attend but declined. St. Louis last week was part of the players' meetings with owners that appeared to make progress until the league Thursday angrily broke off negotiations. He said Wednesday he is better off now on the sideline.

St. Louis had been so "crushed" at the end of last week, he said at the time he might take a vacation. After taking time to decompress, he has been back on the ice in Brandon this week. "This week I want to get a good week of work and see where I'm at at Christmas," he said. "You've got to stay prepared."

No owners were at the meeting. The league was represented by commissioner Gary Bettman, deputy commissioner Bill Daly and its lawyers.

"Really, there's nothing new to report," Daly said in brief comments to the media. He didn't take questions.

No further meetings were scheduled.

Times staff writer Damian Cristodero contributed to this report.

Federal mediator prompts no progress in NHL talks 12/12/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 11:09pm]
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