NEW YORK -- The negotiating committees for the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players' Association have been in touch Thursday and have tentative plans to meet for a third straight day at a Midtown Manhattan hotel, but have not yet sat down across the bargaining table from each other.
The League and the Union have met for nearly 20 hours during the past two days in negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
An NHLPA spokesperson said Thursday afternoon that the Union has requested to have federal mediators return to the negotiations because the Union believes it will expedite the process of making a deal.
The NHL would have to grant consent to that request.
Representatives from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services joined the negotiations last week and met with the two sides for several hours across the two days. However, the mediators could not move the process forward.
The NHLPA has been involved with internal meetings throughout the day Thursday, pushing back a tentative meeting with the League that was expected to start in the early afternoon.
The NHL and NHLPA met for approximately 11 hours Wednesday, with talks bleeding into Thursday morning. The sides didn't break until roughly 1 a.m.
They also met for eight hours Tuesday.
There has been very little public comment about the past two days of negotiations, other than short formal statements from each side.
"We obviously had a number of meetings [Wednesday] over many hours," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said after the meeting ended early Thursday morning. "Had good candid dialogue on a lot of issues. There continue to be some critical open issues between the two parties and we understand the Union should be getting back to us [Thursday] on some of those issues."
"We had a series of meetings today, very candid discussion, and we plan on meeting again [Thursday]."
Neither NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman nor NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr were part of the big-group meetings that took place Tuesday and Wednesday.
Removing Commissioner Bettman and Fehr from the big-group meetings was part of the agreement that the two sides made prior to getting together Tuesday afternoon. The idea was initially proposed last week by Commissioner Bettman after two days of meetings with the federal mediators yielded no progress.
The NHL and NHLPA have been without a CBA since Sept. 16. Games have been cancelled through Dec. 14, along with the 2013 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic and the 2013 NHL All-Star Game.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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