And now things have changed. The fate of the season and perhaps the entire NHL could be decided by lawyers filing into courtrooms, not by negotiators in conference rooms,. And, because the existing case law on what will be argued is so uncertain, the outcome is anyone’s guess.
Somewhere in the past few months, I wrote something like, “This is no way to run a league unless you want to run it into the ground.” That has never been more true.
But let’s not allow this dire view to stop us. Instead, let’s wade into the legal swamp a bit and hope we don’t get too bogged down while trying to comprehend it.
As we noted on that ugly Friday of last week (that had already turned truly horrible with the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown CT), the NHLPA executive board decided unanimously on Thursday to have its members vote on whether to give the union’s executives the right to disclaim interest, the technical term for dissolving their union. They believe the owners’ unwillingness to compromise leaves no alternative but to take this path which, theoretically, can provide some leverage in this impasse. That vote is now underway and will conclude on Thursday. Should the players go in that direction, it will set in motion all sorts of possibilities and anyone who tells you they can predict the outcome is fooling themselves and trying to fool you.