The National Hockey League (NHL) and the union representing its locked-out players met separately with a U.S. federal mediator on Friday with a week to go before the deadline to reach a deal and salvage a shortened season.
The two sides met with a mediator in New York but there has been no decision on whether the league and union would hold face-to-face negotiations on Friday, according to a report on the NHL's website.
In addition to meeting separately with the mediator on Thursday, officials from the NHL and NHL Players' Association met together Thursday for small-group discussions on some key issues.
With half of the 2012-13 regular season already lost to the labor dispute, the NHL has set a January 11 deadline for a new deal so that a shortened 48-game campaign could begin eight days later.
The lockout, which the league has said is costing it about $18-$20 million a day, began in mid-September when the previous collective bargaining agreement expired with both sides at odds over how to split the NHL's $3.3 billion in revenue.
The dispute, which follows a lockout that wiped out the entire 2004-05 campaign, is now centered around the salary cap number for the 2013-14 season, the pension fund and length of player contracts.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, Editing by Larry Fine)