A vote taken this week has given the union's executive board the power to file a "disclaimer of interest" until January 2.
If the board files the disclaimer, the NHLPA would dissolve and become a trade association. Under federal labor laws, they would then have the power to file anti-trust lawsuits against the NHL. Dissolving the union would also make the lockout illegal.
The NHL filed a class action suit against the league in U.S. federal court, claiming that the "disclaimer of interest" was only an empty threat used for bargaining. The league has also filed an unfair labor practices claim against the union with the National Labor Relations Board in the U.S.
Negotiations between both sides have been at a standstill since breaking off December 6.
The NHLPA appears to be following the lead of players from the NBA and NFL, who each dissolved their unions during lockouts last year. The NBA lockout ended two weeks after the players' union was dissolved.
Time is running out on both sides to get a deal done. All games through January 14 have been canceled, and a deal would have to be in place by then to get a minimum of a 48-game regular season in.
No talks have been scheduled between both sides.
GRAPES STICKS TO HIS GUNS. Hockey Night in Canada's Don Cherry joined CBC's Gord Stellick and Tim Wharnsby on Hockey Night in Canada Radio Friday. Cherry reaffirmed his belief that there still will be an NHL season.
"They [the NHL] look too tough. I think it's personal," Cherry said. "I really believe that they're going down to the wire and I cannot believe somebody would blow $3.3 billion [U.S.]."
"It's a sad, sad situation. But I'm looking for a 48-game schedule and it'll be dynamite because it'll be a sprint."
WHARNSBY: NEXT CANCELATION WILL BE THE SEASON. CBC's Tim Wharnsby writes that the next cancelation the NHL announces will be the season.
Wharnsby had the following to say:
"All we really do know is that the owners and the players are down to their final 26 days, and that if there is another cancelation it will be the entire 2012-13 NHL season."
The lockout will reach 100 days Monday.
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