NHL, players head to the courts

NHL, players head to the courts
December 14, 2012, 8:45 pm
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League, NHLPA head to court

If the NHL lockout is going to be settled, it likely will be in the courtroom.

After word leaked out that the players were preparing to disband the union by filing a Disclaimer of Interest, the NHL made its own pre-emptive strike by filing a class-action complaint in New York on Friday, seeking confirmation that the lockout is legal and charging the players with unfair labor practices.

What does all this mean to fans close to filing their own Claimer of Disinterest?

Let’s refer to the NBA lockout of a year ago.

When the NBA players filed their Disclaimer of Interest, which allows individual players to file antitrust lawsuits challenging the legality of the lockout, the NBA owners softened on several issues.

Twelve days later, the two sides had an agreement.

If the same holds true for the NHL, the owners may settle for an eight-year CBA instead of their proposed 10 years; a maximum contact length of six years instead of their proposed five; and a year-by-year variance on player contracts in the 15 percent range instead of their desired 5 percent.

In other words, there is still a deal to be made that can save a season with a minimum of 48 games. It’s just going to have to go through the courts to get there.