If the NHL and the players' association are going to make a deal to save the hockey season, they are likely going to have to do it by themselves.
A pair of federal mediators tried to help for two days, but even they couldn't bring the fighting sides closer to a compromise.
Two members from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service joined the discussions on Wednesday and Thursday and failed to make a breakthrough. Now the owners and players are back on their own to somehow find a compromise.
The bottom line is that, 75 days into the owners' lockout of players, there is no end in sight. The lockout has already forced the cancellation of games through Dec. 14, the New Year's Day Winter Classic, and the All-Star weekend in January.