The NHL Players' Association is bringing union leader Donald Fehr back to the negotiating table, and he hopes he'll have company.
The union has requested that mediators return to the bargaining process, according to multiple reports. The NHL and the players met with members of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service for two days last week, but the deal brokers were unable to find common ground for the dueling parties.
The league has not yet agreed to the request.
The mediators are located in Washington and would need to travel to New York, where players and owners have been meeting since Tuesday.
The sides are scheduled to resume negotiations today but have not yet done so. [UPDATE: The meeting began at 5 p.m.] The union reportedly is willing to talk today even without the mediators in attendance.
When talks resume, the leaders of the respective parties will be in attendance. Six owners and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly met with up to 19 players and union special counsel Steve Fehr the past two days, with Commissioner Gary Bettman and Don Fehr on the sidelines. The players want Fehr back in the room, and Bettman will certainly join the owners.
TSN's Darren Dreger reports that two league negotiators, Toronto owner Larry Tanenbaum and Winnipeg owner Mark Chipman, have left New York.