Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

Also find Russo on Facebook.

Email Michael to talk about hockey.

NHL, NHLPA done for the day, no progress reported

Posted by: Michael Russo under Vikings, Wild off-season news Updated: December 12, 2012 - 6:28 PM

UPDATED

Today's meeting between the NHL and NHLPA with mediators has concluded in New Jersey after 6 1/2 hours.

The sides met separately with mediators and were never in the same room. No progress was made.

According to NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, there is no re-tabled offer on the table (although that's been contradicted and players say the league offered last week's take it or leave it deal again; league says mediatoractually  is the one who said 'would you re-offer it'). There are no plans yet as to when the two sides will meet again.

The mediator will meet with the players tonight, and then the mediators will get in touch with the league as to what was discussed.

I'm told the league spent about 15 or 20 minutes with mediators today and hours with the players because the league made clear there's no communication issue, that their stance is clear: "tell us when you're ready to play." My guess is that could be under the last proposal, although the league has not actually said that.

That proposal was 50/50, 10-year CBA, $300 million Make Whole, 5-year max deals (7 to re-sign your own player) and 5% variances in salary per year.

In other words, the owners are done negotiating. Unless they're bluffing, the next move will have to come from the players deciding if they want to throw away 100 percent of their salaries because they want an 8-year CBA or a little longer term in a max deal. Transition rules also must be determined.

Brendan Morrison was quoted by Tom Gulitti (the Record, @tgulitti): “I never thought the issues were as big as they were back in 04-05. Apparently, I was wrong. I thought the gap would be closed much quicker, but it hasn’t come to fruition yet, so we have to keep working.”

According to Morrison via Gulitti, the players had to make a decision today whether to take the NHL's last proposal last week (the one the league claimed it was taking off the table), and "It wasn't much of a decision."

Again though, the league denies that proposal was ever actually re-tabled.

Fun, isn't this?

So, in conclusion, they tried a mediator two weeks ago. Went nowhere. Went without a mediator last week and made some progress, went back to a mediator and made no progress.

Why? Because mediators go from room to room asking, "what if they did this" questions. The league knows what it wants. It's made that position clear to the union, like it or not. So for them, mediation is not working because both sides aren't miscommunicating with each other. Both sides know what the other wants.

The league is at the take it or leave it stage of this lockout. 

I still believe these guys get a deal done. It's just a matter of when. League needs to announce a drop-dead date, which my guess is Jan. 15 to play a 48-game schedule. If that's the case, early January a deal must be done.

Announce it already, apply a pressure point and see what happens.

--------------------------------------------------

I will be filling in for Paul Allen from 9-noon Thursday on KFAN (100.3-FM). Plenty of NHL/NFL/NBA guests, including Yahoo! Sports hockey columnist Nick Cotsonika, Wild coach Mike Yeo, Fox Sports North's Marney Gellner, Vikings.com's Mike Wobschall and others.

Please tune in, tweet me with questions at @russostrib, post questions on my facebook.com/startribunemikerusso page or call in.

Also on Friday, I will be hosting a live chat on startribune.com at 1 p.m.

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