It didn't take long for the NHL and NHL Players' Association to cut the mediator out of the picture.
The two sides closed out Day 75 of the lockout Thursday by wrapping up meetings with the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in New Jersey with no further talks planned and no end to the labour dispute on the horizon.
Trying to pull any string to get the talks back on track, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman proposed to NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr the two sides meet without the head of either camp in the room.
Instead, he wants just owners and players in the room and no presence of either NHL or NHLPA senior executives. The union agreed to think about the idea but didn't offer up a response.
While the NHL and NHLPA promised to be open-minded going into the mediation process, talks ended at 4 p.m. and the FMCS elected not to go any further because the two sides refused to compromise.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed in a statement that no progress was made.