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Has the NHL lockout reached its eventual endgame or will a deal be salvaged?

Dilip Vishwanat

As we found out late yesterday afternoon, the NHL has filed suit against the NHLPA, seeking to solidify the legality of the lockout and block any attempt by the PA to decertify (or file a disclaimer of interest, which is almost the same thing). Here's Elliotte Friedman on what just happened. Here's more from Chris Johnston of the CP.

Here's where we find out how interested both sides really are in making a deal. Are the NHL's hardliners so set on crushing the PA that they scuttle the entire season to gain what will likely be a small victory? Or will the moderate owners like Burkle, Tannenbaum, Dolan, and Molson step in and force the NHL to negotiate off their last proposal?

Has Don Fehr truly been playing this game all along to get to this point? Are his true desires to fight this out in court and challenge the very framework of the past CBA, perhaps taking the Entry Draft and the salary cap with it? Or is that all spin from the league's side, and now that push has come to shove, the PA will work with the moderate owners to come to a deal?

Last season, the NBA and its Players Union went down the same road and once lawsuits were filed, there was an agreement within two weeks. Many of the same outside counsel involved in the NHL lockout were involved in the NBA's. I have doubts that things will end as quickly for the NHL. I'm no lawyer, but those who are have suggested that there is a significant lack of precedent in these matters. As 67sound put it: "It creates a lot of uncertainty." Hopefully that means both sides will come back to the table with real intentions of getting a deal. That said, eventually some group is going to go the distance in court to set that precedent. I hope that it isn't the NHL.

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