NHL Lockout: NHLPA Must Give CBA Talks One More Chance Before Dissolving Union

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NHL Lockout: NHLPA Must Give CBA Talks One More Chance Before Dissolving Union
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The NHLPA must try to resume CBA negotiations with the NHL and work out a new collective bargaining agreement that will end the lockout before deciding to dissolve the union.

After about a week of voting, it was reported on Friday by Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press that the large majority of the players voted to give the union's executive committee the option of filing a disclaimer of interest, which would dissolve the union.

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The NHLPA will not immediately file this disclaimer just because it has the authority to, but since it can now go down that road, it will hopefully result in more meaningful negotiations with the league as the deadline to save the 2012-13 season rapidly approaches.

Unless negotiating fails again and the players are willing to risk losing the season, don't expect a disclaimer of interest to ever be filed.

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr is the type of union boss who thrives when he plays a large role in his side's negotiations. However, if the union dissolves, Fehr would no longer represent the players.

The best option for his players is to return to the bargaining table with the NHL just after the Christmas holiday and reach a deal.

According to John Shannon of Sportsnet.ca, the league and the union communicated on Saturday and could meet this week.

Since the union must decide whether or not to go down the disclaimer of interest route by January 2 (via Tom Gulitti of The Record), the players have a bit more leverage in negotiations, but it probably won't be enough to force the owners to move much off their recent proposal.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

In all likelihood, the players will have to move toward the owners on player contract term limits, salary variance and CBA term for a deal of any kind to be made.

The players don't have to agree to all of the league's demands on these three issues, but they need to go closer to the NHL on these important topics for any deal to be done soon.

If the union makes these moves, then the NHL might bend on other issues that haven't been agreed to yet, some of which may include the transition from the old CBA to the new one.

Getting back to the negotiating table and trying to work out a new deal that would prevent this lockout from going to the courts is the best decision that the league and its players can make right now.

The best way to get a fair deal is to resume negotiating, but now that the union has another option to consider if negotiations break down again, hopefully the NHL is more willing to negotiate off its latest CBA proposal and not give the players a take-it-or-leave-it option only.

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