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WASHINGTON — Federal mediators are entering the stalled NHL labor talks, with the season's first 2½ months already lost because of the lockout.

George Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, said Monday the parties had agreed to use the agency. He assigned three mediators to assist negotiations — deputy director Scot Beckenbaugh, director of mediation services John Sweeney and commissioner Guy Serota.

"While we have no particular level of expectation going into this process, we welcome a new approach in trying to reach a resolution of the ongoing labor dispute at the earliest possible date," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.

Cohen has worked with the players' associations for Major League Baseball, helping end the 1994-95 strike as an outside counsel, and the NBA. He also mediated during the 2010 negotiations in MLS and 2011 talks in the NFL and NBA, along with this year's dispute between the NFL and its on-field officials.

Red Wings veteran Todd Bertuzzi expressed little hope that there will be a season. "Not very optimistic," he told the Detroit Free Press. "I see us losing a year."

The sides have not bargained since Wednesday, when a union proposal for a five-year deal was not greeted warmly.


IOC head wants longer doping bans

IOC president Jacques Rogge supports proposals to double the length of doping bans to four years as a way of keeping drug cheats out of the Olympics. The World Anti-Doping Agency plans to raise the penalty from two to four years for serious drug violations in the next version of the global anti-doping code, which comes up for approval next year and goes into effect in 2015. He said the change would be in line with the International Olympic Committee's previous failed attempt to bar any athlete slapped with a ban of more than six months from competing in the subsequent Games.


Anti-Semitic chants mar English match

The English Premier League faced another racism investigation after Sunday's match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United was marred by anti-Semitic abuse by fans. West Ham pledged to impose lifetime bans after some of its supporters were heard making chants about Adolf Hitler and praising Italian club Lazio after an apparent anti-Semitic stabbing of a Tottenham fan on Wednesday in Rome ahead of a Europa League match. Tottenham has traditionally drawn a large number of Jewish fans in London. "I was very disappointed to hear some of the songs yesterday and it was embarrassing," Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun, who is on loan at West Ham from Chelsea, wrote on Twitter. The Football Association said it is gathering video evidence from Tottenham.

MLS: Chicago Fire defender Cory Gibbs, 32, retired after a season-ending knee injury last spring, ending a 12-year career.


BASEBALL: The Red Sox agreed to terms with former Rays outfielder Jonny Gomes on a two-year contract reportedly worth $10 million. … Catcher Eli Whiteside and the Yankees agreed to a one-year deal worth $625,000 in the major leagues and $200,000 in the minors. … Left-hander Tim Byrdak, 39, agreed to a minor-league deal to stay with the Mets. … A full postseason share for the champion Giants was worth a record $377,003, breaking the mark held by the 2006 Cardinals.

Times wires

Sports in brief 11/26/12 [Last modified: Monday, November 26, 2012 9:18pm]
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