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NHL Lockout: NHLPA Not Filing Disclaimer of Interest Is Good Sign in CBA Talks

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13:  Don Fehr, executive director of the National Hockey League Players Association meets with the media at Marriott Marquis Times Square on September 13, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Nicholas GossCorrespondent IJanuary 3, 2013

The NHLPA reportedly decided to not file a disclaimer of interest by Wednesday night's 11:59 p.m. ET deadline, according to TSN's Darren Dreger.

This is positive news from CBA talks because it suggests that the two sides are making enough progress to the point where further legal action isn't needed at the moment.

Dan Rosen of NHL.com has reported that the two sides are expected to have more labor negotiations on Thursday morning:

CBA talks scheduled to resume at 10 a.m. at request of federal mediator Scot L. Beckenbaugh, who was involved all day yesterday as well.

— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) January 3, 2013

The NHLPA could still file a disclaimer of interest at a later date, but it appears as if collective bargaining agreement talks will continue, which is great news for hockey fans.

Filing a disclaimer of interest would disband the union so an anti-trust lawsuit can be filed. It would also result in NHLPA leadership such as executive director Donald Fehr no longer representing the players.

Taking this step would bring this labor dispute to the courts, which isn't a smart option since both sides still aren't far enough apart on the major issues to go down that road of uncertainty.

The league and its players have been presenting each other with proposals over the last few days, but according to Dreger, there are two major issues yet to be resolved.

2nd yr cap still a hot topic. Players looking for $65 mil, NHL stuck on $60 mil. Pension experts will join talks today to deal with issues.

— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 3, 2013

The cap-ceiling figure in the second year of the new CBA has created a lot of discussion over the last few days, mainly because there are currently 16 teams over the NHL's proposed $60 million salary cap for the 2013-14 season, according to Capgeek.

Giving these teams just one season to get under the $60 million cap presents quite a challenge for many teams. There are several teams that currently have over $45 million in salary for the 2013-14 season with just 14-17 players under contract.

Some general managers might have to make a number of risky moves that would affect the short- and long-term future of their teams in the first few months after a deal is reached if the cap goes down to $60 million. The best option for the league and the NHLPA is to have a cap ceiling in 2013-14 at $64-$66 million.

The pension issue is also a major one for the players right now because it will benefit the current players and the future generations of NHLers.

Since the average NHL career is less than six years long, having a good pension is important to the players, many of whom decided not to go to school and pursue a hockey career instead.

With real negotiating going on and few details being leaked from either side, it's fair to suggest that both sides are giving a strong effort to make a deal.

No issue is big enough to cancel an entire year over, especially when the business of the NHL has grown so much since the previous lockout in 2005.

Plenty of work remains on many key issues, and both sides must be willing to give and take. The league already has canceled all games through Jan. 14. 

However,the NHLPA's decision to keep negotiating and not file a disclaimer of interest should be viewed as a positive sign as the Jan. 11 deadline to save the 2012-13 season approaches.

 

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