The NHL stated long ago that its deadline before it would lock the players out was Sept. 15. Unfortunately, that date is rapidly approached while the two sides continue to dig their heels in and bang their heads against the proverbial wall.
However, the Montreal Canadiens' players are saying that a lockout would be in violation of Quebec labor laws, since the NHL Players Association isn't certified in the providence. Under provincial law, players can't be locked out unless they're represented by a union, according to USA Today.
Thus, Montreal players filed a cease-and-desist order on Friday. The NHL has responded with deputy commissioner Bill Daly saying, "We will do what's legally appropriate." The league also came out and called the notion an "unnecessary distraction."
Canadiens player rep Erik Cole stated the players' feelings to the Montreal Gazette, saying his group still wants to sit down at the negotiating table. However, Cole says the Montreal players are also prepared to do what's necessary.
"The players are committed to reaching a fair deal with the NHL owners through CBA negotiations, and we have told the NHL that the players are willing to continue to negotiate if an agreement isn't reached prior to the expiration of the CBA.
"The NHL seems content to lock out the players if an agreement isn't reached this week, and we would like the Quebec Labor Board to step in and inform them that their lockout would be in direct violation of the Quebec labor laws."
If the NHL does indeed lockout the players, it would be the third time under commissioner Gary Bettman's watch.