NHLPA votes 'overwhelmingly' to potentially dissolve union

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NHLPA votes 'overwhelmingly' to potentially dissolve union

As expected the NHLPA voted with overwhelming support to give the unions executive board permission to dissolve the union should they see that as necessary during CBA lockout negotiations.

The five-day electric vote ended on Friday and included more than 700 members of the NHLPA an impressive show of support from such a large group of hockey players with disparate interests, desires and backgrounds. The NHL filed a class action complaint in federal court and an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Board Advisory at the end of last week stemming from the news that the NHLPA would vote on a disclaimer of interest.

Earlier this week a number of NHL players confirmed with CSNNE.com that they were voting in support of allowing the NHLPA Executive Board to file a disclaimer of interest that would allow individual players to file anti-trust lawsuits against the league. The players union has also put a Jan. 2 deadline to decide whether or not they will blow up the union, and potentially change the course of negotiations that have been on the wrong foot from the very beginning.

Its important to note that negotiations can continue throughout this period of deliberation among the union.

The disclaimer of interest is essentially a faster, easier way for the NHLPA to decertify, and its expected that the players would form a less formal trade association while continuing negotiations with the NHL. While all of these actions would seem to indicate that a battle in the court system is brewing, both the NHL and NHLPA are both motivated to simply get a deal done before they let control slip out of their hands into the federal court system.

There was no contact between the NHL and NHLPA on Friday, but it would be surprising if theres no last-ditch effort before or after Christmas to find middle ground on a new CBA. The NHL has tacitly indicated Jan. 15 could be a drop-dead date for the season if the two sides dont have a deal executed, but its also important to remember the NHL started a 48-game schedule on Jan. 22 during the strike-shortened 1994-95 hockey season.

Gronkowski healthy enough to participate during Patriots OTA practice

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Gronkowski healthy enough to participate during Patriots OTA practice

There's one where he makes a one-handed catch and celebrates with his arms outstretched as he glides into the end zone. There's another where he leaves his feet to go up and over safety Devin McCourty to come down with a pass. 

Judging by some of the pictures that have surfaced on Patriots.com of Rob Gronkowski participating in an OTA practice earlier this week, the All-Pro tight end seems to be feeling pretty good. 

Gronkowski is returning to action after undergoing season-ending back surgery last year so there was some question as to just how prepared he'd be to participate in practices this spring and summer. 

Again, judging by the photos, the answer is he's ready to ready to run routes on air and make contested catches against defenders.

Reporters will have an opportunity to watch the team practice on Thursday, the first workout open to members of the media, which will allow us to judge Gronkowski's mobility and his level of participation.

Another takeaway from the photos on the team website is that Gronkowski was not required to wear a non-contact jersey during the session. Contact is not allowed during this phase of the offseason training program, but players returning from injury (and quarterbacks) will still wear red jerseys to inform their teammates they're not to be touched. For instance, Jonathan Freeny, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve about a month into last season, donned a red non-contact jersey in one image.