With the distrust between the NHL and the NHLPA never higher than it's been in recent memory, things appeared extremely grim heading into Friday. The NHLPA once again threatened to disband the union through Disclaimer of Interest and new astonishing news from the NY Post that some league General Managers want to completely do away with existing contracts and start over with all players as unrestricted free agents. But there was one man, willing to wade through the debris of a NHL season slipping away and save the league from potentially catastrophic consequences.
The man pictured above is Scot Beckenbaugh. Beckenbaugh is the Deputy Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and is one of the federal mediators assigned to this lockout. Beckenbaugh seemingly took it upon himself to walk back and forth to meet with the league at the NHL offices and where the NHLPA was holed up, at a hotel 4 blocks away. Friday's "shuttle diplomacy" lasted for about 12 hours and seemed to somewhat defuse tension between the two sides in an effort to find middle ground for a deal to be made.
The mediator reportedly was encouraged enough from Friday to return again Saturday. What is not known is when the mediator will ask for the two sides to meet in the same room again.
Only in the NHL is it remotely possible for any kind of progress, no matter how big or small, to be made when the two parties can't even sit together in the same room to resolve their differences….
It is important to note that the NHL, not the players who requested mediation today, per TSN. To me, that's very telling the league wants this over with.
If Beckenbaugh is able to pull a miracle and get a deal done, the Conn Smythe or the Hart Trophy might have to be re-named after him.
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