NHL players began a vote Thursday night to decide whether they want to again grant authority to their management committee to disclaim interest in their union, according to a report in TSN.
The vote comes after some progress — but apparently not enough — was made in talks between the league's owners and its players association over the past two days over the ongoing lockout, which has now dragged on for 110 days. The vote began around 6 p.m. ET on Thursday night and will end within the next 48 hours, according to TSN.
The NHLPA's first vote on the subject passed overwhelmingly, but the deadline to disclaim interest passed without action from management on Wednesday. If least two-thirds of players again vote for the measure and the NHLPA this time decides to disclaim, it could lead to players filing antitrust lawsuits against the league.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said that the "drop dead" deadline for a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement is Jan. 11. That would allow for a 48-game season.
All games through Jan. 14, as well as the All-Star game, have already been canceled. There are several key issues that remain as roadblocks to a potential agreement, but the three most pressing are player pensions, the league's salary cap and limits on the length of player contracts. Owners want a second-year salary cap around $60 million, according to TSN. Players want a cap more in the range of $65 million. And owners prefer a six-year limit on player contracts — seven if re-signing with a team — while players want any term limits scrapped.