Federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh might just become an NHL lockout folk hero if this goes on much longer. The U.S. government middle man assigned by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to help broker a deal between the NHL and NHLPA shuttled between league headquarters and the NHLPA's hotel suite for some 12 hours Friday.
Mediation wrapped around 10:45 p.m. ET Friday evening but will continue Saturday morning. All reports indicate that at least some progress was made as the mediator looked for common ground between the two sides.
12 hours later, the mediation process is still going and its possible it won't end soon.— Renaud Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) January 5, 2013
The NHL and NHLPA did not meet face-to-face on Friday, but that doesn't seem to matter all that much at this point. Reports do not indicate exactly the progress that has been made, but the fact that Beckenbaugh went back and forth between the two sides for such a long period of time certainly indicates good news. And, of course, that the process will continue Saturday. That's good too.
Talks had progressed well over the course of the last seven days before hitting a snag Thursday when some distrust developed between the sides over some smaller hockey-related revenue issues -- think squabbles over what constitues HRR, not the ultimate revenue split, which has already been agreed upon.
The NHLPA also felt that the league had changed their tune a bit after the midnight Wednesday union deadline to file a disclaimer of interest came and went, according to various reports, so the union began another vote Thursday evening on whether or not to again authorize their board to file that disclaimer. It's unclear whether or not the renewed threat of the disclaimer is having any impact on talks.
If the lockout does end as a result of the mediation Friday night and over the next few days, though, perhaps we should take up a collection to get Beckenbaugh a new pair of shoes. His surely must be worn through by now, and he only works on a government wage.