|The NHLPA argues a lockout would violate Quebec's Labour Laws. (Getty Images)|
We're entering what should be the home stretch in the NHL's labor battle as the current collective bargainning agreement is set to expire on Saturday, Sept. 15. That date is fast approaching.
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Unfortunately for hockey fans, talks have been few and far between over the past week. When they have taken place, they've been nothing more than "informal." The NHLPA is now leaving no stone unturned in its quest to prevent the NHL's third lockout in the past 18 years, which will officially start this weekend if a new agreement isn't in place.
The union is arguing such an action would be a violation of Quebec's labor laws. That's an issue, of course, because the Montreal Canadiens and their players are housed in Quebec.
Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette reports that the NHLPA is not a group that is certified with the Quebec Labour Board. That means, according to Quebec law, an employer can't lock out an employee (in this case, the Canadiens' players) unless they are represented by a union that is certified by the Labour Board.
Which the NHLPA is currently not.
"The NHL seems content to lock out the players if an agreement isn't reached this week, and we would like the Quebec Labour Board to step in and inform them that their lockout would be in direct violation of the Quebec labour laws," said Canadiens forward Erik Cole.
Problem solved, right? Let's the drop the puck and get this thing going. Well, not exactly.
Deputy commissionner Bill Daly told TSN that this potential manuever by the NHLPA was a "distraction" and that it was "not unexpected." He also added that "It will be handled in due course, one way or the other."
Hey, if nothing else, maybe the Canadiens can play their full 82 games by themselves. Think of the records to be set!
After going an entire week without having official talks, the two sides met twice on Friday (the aforementioned "informal" talks) but didn't get back together over the weekend.
At this point, no further talks are scheduled.