08:22 AM ET 11.28 | And so it has come to this: mediation. The other way to end it is public, explosive, confrontational and expensive. It is called decertification and litigation. And it may be the next step if mediation does not work. The fact that mediation, decertification and litigation are at the center of the NHL lockout shows clearly that the owners and the players are staring into the abyss of the loss of another season. There may be some hope that results from the mediation attempts this week in Washington, D.C. But the real reason the owners and the players are participating in the mediation is that they could not possibly have refused to participate. ... There is no quicker way to become the bad guy in a dispute than to refuse to participate in mediation.