Bill Daly came out and said what fans had already figured out for themselves -- the drop-dead date for a 48 game season is mid-January. Unfortunately, that means there's about a month left for stupid posturing.
The players are in the process of voting on a disclaimer of interest. It would effectively dissolve the union and leave them free to file lawsuits. Lawsuits by both the NHL and the NHLPA would move too slowly to resolve the issue; the main pressure point would still be time.
Despite what Daly and Bettman keep saying, any outside observer can see the biggest issues are settled. Any way you slice it, the league's side is coming out ahead. If I'm an owner, I'm beginning to question whether the league is correctly identifying "hills it must die on" -- and whether or not emotion is getting in the way of a solid business deal.
The NHL needs the union to exist. Just deal with it.
- Your guide to the NHL's point of no return -- Chris Botta goes through the tactics for both sides, and a likely endgame.
- What is "disclaiming interest" all about -- and what does it mean for the CBA talks? Eric Macramalla answers all your lockout legal questions in plain English.
- Macramalla also reacts to questions in the wake of the NHL's lawsuit.
- The Sports Law Blog examines the NHL's preemptive lawsuit by comparing it to the one filed by the NBA. They make an interesting point that the NHL cannot use the past behavior of the NHLPA against them to prove this would be a mere bargaining tactic, since they have never broken up before.
- Hockey's Wealth Distribution Problem -- What's really behind the NHL Lockout This article is wrong about the exact percentage of revenues shared by the NHL, though it is true the NHL lags behind the other leagues. The central point holds true -- the path to 30 healthy teams can't simply come from whittling down the players' share. Another important point is that the losses shown by teams can't be trusted blindly -- tax deductions and creative accounting come into play.
I'll end with one note -- if anyone proclaims that one side is on the path to a slam-dunk legal victory, don't believe them. There isn't enough precedent for this mess.