NHL lockout looks like it will head to court

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NHL lockout looks like it will head to court

It looks like the NHL lockout might have finally kicked things up a notch, and could be headed for the court room.

The NHLPA informed the NHL that their Executive Negotiating Committee had approved a potential disclaimer of interest for the 700 plus members of the NHLPA to vote on. The disclaiming interest move is essentially a swifter, cleaner decertification process for the players union that starts the wheels turning for individual players to file anti-trust lawsuits against the NHL claiming damages and lost wages.

In the United States, antitrust laws prohibit owners from locking out employees who don't belong to a union. The punishment for doing so is triple the wages lost during the lockout.

It was thought that both sides badly wanted to avoid things ending up in a court rooms hands, but with the lockout rolling into its 90th day of existence the NHLPA didnt see many more options. The NHL had hinted previously that decertification would most likely lead to the entire 2012-13 season being cancelled, but that doesnt seem close to a reality at this point.

The NHL immediately responded by filing a Class Action lawsuit against the NHLPA in New York Federal Court seeking a Declaration confirming the ongoing legality of the lockout. With the filing of the complaint the NHL also filed an Unfair Labor Practice Charge with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that by threatening to disclaim interest the NHLPA has engaged in unlawful subversion of the collective bargaining process and conduct that constitutes bad faith bargaining under the National Labor Relations Act.

The NHLPA responded in a released statement by claiming the lawsuit was without merit before actually taking a look at it.

Based on what weve learned so far, the NHL appears to be arguing that the Players should be stopped from even considering their rights whether or not to be represented by a union, said the NHLPA in a statement. We believe that the NHLs position is completely without merit.

The NHL and NHLPA are both ridiculously close in CBA negotiations with an agreement on money and the make whole provision, and only sat in disagreement on a handful of personal player contract rights, the CBA length and the transition rules for the CBA with a 48-game schedule still a very real possibility. The lawsuits and allegations between both sides are clearly not helping matters for either side, but only time will tell which side the law ultimately favors.

'Ecstatic' Thomas was with Celtics teammates via FaceTime after Game 3 win

'Ecstatic' Thomas was with Celtics teammates via FaceTime after Game 3 win

CLEVELAND – Gone but definitely not forgotten.

Isaiah Thomas, out for the rest of the playoffs with a right hip injury, wasn’t in the Q Arena physically, but his presence – and his face via FaceTime – were inside the locker room in the initial moments following their 111-108 Game 3 win over Cleveland.

“We called him right after the game,” said Boston’s Avery Bradley. “He got to celebrate with us a little bit. It’s sad that he’s not here. We wish he was here with us. We just want him to get better.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens added, “I didn’t even realize that had happened until later on. one of my first text messages was from Isaiah.  He’s hurting not being out there but he’s completely invested, for sure.”

He initially suffered the injury on March 15 at Minnesota, but re-aggravated it in the first half of Boston’s Game 2 loss to the Cavs. Less than 24 hours later, Thomas was deemed out for the remainder of the playoffs.

Instead of Thomas being the rock of sorts that the Celtics lean on with his play, he has become their rallying cry for the remainder of the playoffs.

“All we can do is play hard for him,” Bradley said. “He was excited with the way we played. We’re a family. Other guys got an opportunity to step up for us. Marcus (Smart) had a big game for us. It could be somebody else next game.”

Smart led the Celtics with a career-high 27 points which included a career-best seven 3’s going down.

And most important, the Celtics avoided going down 3-0 which would have all but sealed their fate in this series considering no team in league history has ever come back for a 3-0 series deficit.

Doing so without Thomas, the Celtics’ leading scorer and the top regular season scorer in the Eastern Conference, made the win all that more impressive for Boston.

“It meant a lot,” Horford said. “We know, Isaiah gives us so much and gave us so much this year. For him, we definitely wanted to come out and fight for him and our season and our team. It felt good to keep believing despite being down big. Just felt good to win the game and bring life back to our locker room. Because going down 3-0, that’s a death sentence pretty much. This was big.”

Not only to the Celtics players but also to Thomas who also texted head coach Brad Stevens full of excitement following Boston’s surprising win.

“He was excited,” Horford recalled. “He was ecstatic. I know he wishes he was here being part of it. We just need to keep doing it for him and our group and doing the best we can.”