On a positive note, the Sporting News reported that the FMCS has had an 85 to 87 percent success rate in each of the last four years.
George Cohen, director of the FMCS, said he had "separate, informal discussions" with key representatives of the NHL and the NHL Players' Association. "At the invitation of the FMCS and with the agreement of both parties, the ongoing negotiations will now be conducted under our auspices," he said.
The first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday.
Cohen said he assigned Scot Beckenbaugh, deputy director, and John Sweeney, director of Mediation Services. They are employed by the federal government and are not being paid by the NHL or the NHLPA, said a federal spokesman.
On Saturday, Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHLPA, did not rule out the possibility of union decertification, which could have challenged the legality of the lockout in the courts.
For the moment, that is on the back burner.
The mediators will comb through numbers that don't compute.
The NHL says it is losing $18 million to $20 million a day in the dispute, which has caused the season to be canceled through Dec. 14. Yet, it turned down a plan that would have cost about $20,000 per game per team to erase those losses - and start earning revenue.
Where's the logic in that?
"Maybe they have a different motivation," Steve Fehr, NHLPA special counsel, said the other day. He did not elaborate but seemed to be hinting that the NHL wants to break the union.
Last Wednesday, the league rejected the NHLPA's "make whole" offer. That money goes toward guaranteeing the players' contracts.
The NHLPA requested $393 million, while the NHL had offered $211 million. If you take the difference - $182 million - and divide it by 30 teams and spread it over five years, it comes to $1.2 million per team.
Broken down further, the $1.2 million would cost teams $20,000 per game, assuming 60 games are played this season.
Daly said it was "too simplistic" to say the labor woes were wrapped around the "make whole" provision. He said there were many other issues that were "separating the parties."
Issues such as length of contracts, free agency and, apparently, the salary cap. The players do not want it to drop below $67.25 million at any point during the five-year agreement.
Donald Fehr said he and the union look forward to the mediators' involvement in the process.
Contact Sam Carchidi at email@example.com.