The NHL and NHLPA met on Wednesday for what is expected to be the first of a series of meetings with federal mediators, with the next meeting expected to come on Thursday in the same undisclosed location.
Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHLPA, released the following statement at the conclusion of the meetings:
"A small group of NHLPA staff and players met today with two experienced FMCS mediators. We expect that these discussions will resume on Thursday."
The two sides reportedly met separately with mediators for the duration of the lengthy meetings and did not meet face-to-face on Wednesday. That could change on Thursday, when mediators attempt to try and bridge the gap between the NHL and NHLPA in what is now a 74-day lockout of the players.
Federal mediation was not quite successful with the NFL and NBA in the two respective lockouts in 2011, and the NHL canceled the 2004-05 season just three days after initial meetings with mediators during the last NHL lockout. At this point, however, having a third-party attempt to get the two sides to find common ground and get a deal moving forward is just about the last option remaining.