NHL and NHLPA to meet with mediators today

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The NHL and NHLPA are set to resume collective bargaining this afternoon, this time with federal mediators joining them the table.

Only time will tell if third-party intervention has any positive effect on negotiations. There hasn’t been a whole lot of optimism that mediators will be able to bridge the gap between owners and players.

Two issues remain at the forefront of the dispute. The first is money. The NHLPA claims the two sides are just $182 million apart over the life of the players’ five-year offer.

The second is contract rights. The league wants to end back-diving deals, cap contract lengths at five years and for players to become eligible for unrestricted free agency a year later than under the last CBA. The union, meanwhile, wants things to stay more or less the same, though it did propose a way to punish teams that front-load deals in order to subvert the spirit of the salary cap.

Related:

A look at NHL-NHLPA mediators…and the one that got removed because of his weird Twitter account

Richards doubtful mediation can solve lockout

Crosby: “The whole process is frustrating”