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Mediator to Oversee Today’s Meetings

The NHL and NHLPA will meet today at an undisclosed location, at 11:00 am this morning.

In a change of stance from last week, the Federal mediators will be brought back into the process. At last week’s negotiations in New York, the NHLPA suggested to bring back the mediators, but the NHL quickly shot that down.

In an email to the Washington Times, Bill Daly explained the NHL’s change of heart on the mediation matter:

“It was our position that they would not have been of value at that particular part of the process. We are in a different place now than we were a week ago today.”

The owners are looking for a five year max limit on contracts, but Mark Spector of Sportsnet.ca doesn’t think they’ll get it.

“It’s a philosophical battle,” agent J.P. Barry said on Monday. “The players want a more free-market place, and the owners just keep tacking on restrictions. Five-year term is just putting another curtailment into place.”

The players are worried that if there is a five year max on contracts, the ‘star’ players salaries would skyrocket, and it would pinch out the mid-level players.

“Typical red herring,” said a GM. “If that’s true, then put in a contract limit like we have now, of 20 per cent of the cap. Put your money where your mouth is.”

A player agent noted,

“Sure. That’s saying, ‘If you want flexibility, then have less flexibility.’ How ridiculous is that? It is just adding another prohibition.”

One of the NHL tactics has been to alienate Don Fehr from the players, like they did when dealing with Bob Goodenow.

“I think it is another one of their tactics to try and discredit Don, to say he is the one standing in the way of a deal,” Manny Malhotra told the Vancouver Province. “I can’t say enough about how strongly we feel about his leadership and what he has done for this organization so far. He’s the professional, he has been doing this for years and to think that we’d be dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s without him in the room is just absurd.”

While there have been a couple players speaking out against Fehr, most are sticking by there their leader.

Mark is the NHL editor for Sports City and myNHLtraderumors.com. Lives north of Toronto in the snow-belt, not a big fan of snow. Despises lockouts.

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