Wednesday night was not only a long night of negotiations, it was also the deadline for the NHLPA executive board to file a disclaimer of interest, the quicker way of disbanding the union. The union didn't make such a motion.
But that doesn't mean it won't do it in the future because the NHLPA is getting ready to go through the motions of the vote all over again.
NHLPA executive board will begin the process to have players approval to disclaim if no agreement is concluded by today.— Renaud Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) January 3, 2013
Really this is more of a formality and not a surprise. Even after the deadline passed, NHLPA boss Donald Fehr kept stating the players retained all of their legal rights, clearly in reference to the disclaimer of interest.
By having the players vote on it again -- and the assumption is it will pass with flying colors as it did the first time -- it's more or less just giving the NHLPA an extension. The window for the executive board to file the disclaimer is only a couple of weeks before the vote is null and void, thus the need to repeat the process.
The expectation is that the vote should go a little faster this time around. When the players first voted on the issue, it took about a week for the votes to be cast. But with the players already having weighed their options -- if they even weighed them at all -- and standing by waiting for the lockout to come to an end, it would make sense that they could expedite it.
The next vote would give the executive board long enough to get through what is the NHL's drop-dead date, likely the second week in January. The disclaimer of interest is a bargaining chip the players have and though they didn't use it the first time it doesn't mean they wouldn't use it now. The players in the NBA did and they ended up reaching a deal not long after.
For a refresher on what exactly goes into a disclaimer of interest, here is your FAQ.
The NHL thus far hasn't made any public comments about the NHLPA's disclaimer threat other than to say it's not worried about it. Oh, and there was that class-action complaint.
Everybody is keeping their options open while working to close the deal.