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Sides to try mediation again

TORONTO — NHL labor negotiations will resume today, with mediators rejoining the talks at an undisclosed location in an effort to save the hockey season.

The Canadian Press on Tuesday reported the restart of bargaining between the league and union.

U.S. federal mediators Scot Beckenbaugh and John Sweeney are to return. They took part in sessions Nov. 27 and 28 before deciding they couldn't help.

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, based in Washington, also was involved during the lockout that canceled the 2004-05 NHL season, with Beckenbaugh attending sessions.

As recently as last week, commissioner Gary Bettman indicated he didn't think mediators could help bridge the gap.

"We're not interested in mediation," he said Thursday. "We went through it a week and a half ago. It was of no value because of the position of the parties."

Tuesday marked the 87th day of the lockout. This session will be the first since the sides blamed each other after talks broke off last week.

Until then, there appeared to be progress during three days in New York in which they exchanged proposals. Union executive director Donald Fehr maintains there are agreements on almost all important issues.

The league says three main issues remain: the length of the collective bargaining agreement, rules governing term limits on contracts and the transition rules to help teams get under the salary cap.

In all, more than 40 percent of the regular season that was scheduled to begin Oct. 11 has been scratched.

The NHL eliminated 16 more days from the regular-season schedule Monday, canceling games through Dec. 30. The Jan. 1 Winter Classic and All-Star Game were already wiped out.

Bettman has said the league would want nothing less than a 48-game season, which is what it had after 1994-95 lockout ended.

Sides to try mediation again 12/11/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 11:30pm]
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