The Washington Times - November 29, 2012, 04:46PM

Gone is the hope, at least for now, that the NHL lockout will be solved with the help of federal mediators. After two days of mediation, the league and NHL Players’ Association broke off talks with no progress made.

No more sessions are scheduled with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

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“After spending several hours with both sides over two days, the presiding mediators concluded that the parties remained far apart, and that no progress toward a resolution could be made through further mediation at this point in time,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. “We are disappointed that the mediation process was not successful.”

There’s no reason why mediators could not intervene in the process again, but for now the sides will go back to regular collective bargaining talks.

“Today, players and NHLPA staff, along with representatives of the league, concluded a second day of mediation under the auspices of the FMCS,” NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said in a statement Thursday. “This afternoon, the mediators informed the parties that they did not think it was productive to continue the discussions further today. The mediators indicated that they would stay in contact with the league and the NHLPA, and would call the parties back together when they thought the time was right.”

The next step could be the NHLPA decertifying or disclaiming interest, which could put pressure on owners with antitrust lawsuits.

Scot L. Beckenbaugh and John Sweeney were the mediators appointed by FMCS director George S. Cohen to help the sides bridge the current gap in CBA negotiations.