The war of words between the NHL and its players continued late Friday night after the players request for a temporary injunction against a lockout was rejected by the Quebec Labor Relations Board.
The players argument was that because the players union is not certified in Quebec, an injunction against the lockout could be imposed. The QLRB ruled that more hearings are needed to make a final decision.
Not surprisingly, both sides in the dispute chastised the other as Saturday nights midnight deadline for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement approaches.
We are pleased but not surprised with the Quebec Labor Boards ruling that any lockout of players will be effective on a league-wide basis, including in Quebec, deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. And we are extremely appreciative of the expeditious and decisive manner in which the matter was handled.
We are hopeful that this ruling will cause the players association to cease pursuing these needless distractions and instead focus all of its efforts and energies on making progress at the bargaining table.
In their own statement, issued by NHLPA general counsel Don Zavelo, players viewed the ruling as a minor victory.
While the commission denied the players' request for emergency relief, it also rejected the NHL's request to dismiss the case, Zavelo said.
The ruling acknowledges that the players have raised issues about the legality of the NHL's planned lockout that require full hearing on the merits.
We remain confident that the lockout is prohibited by the Quebec labor code and look forward to presenting our case to the commission in the near future. Should the NHL carry out its threat to lock out the players in Quebec, it will do so at its own risk.
Judging from the rhetoric, get ready folks. This could be a long one. Your thoughts as the NHL approaches Armageddon ... again?