While talks are scheduled this week between the NHL owners and the locked-out players, each passing day brings a chance of more cancellations. It also, apparently, brings a larger possibility of drastic action on the players' side.
NHLPA president Donald Fehr told the Toronto Star's editorial board that the longer the lockout lasts, the more unhappy the players will be with the league's salary cap system in place.
"If this goes on for an extended period of time, I don't know what [the players] are going to do," Fehr said. "But I think it's safe to say, they would
be exploring all options."
However, Fehr might simply be bluffing in order to spur the owners into action. He was quick to note that the players would be willing to play with the salary cap in place … if the owners end the lockout soon.
"If there can be an agreement in a relatively short term, which puts the
pieces back together and gets the season going, I think the players can
live with that," he continued.
As drastic as a move that would be for the players, it is not altogether unexpected. It had been previously reported that the players would submit a proposal to the league with a luxury tax system to replace the salary cap (even though they didn't), and a former owner tweeted back in Sept. that he expected the players to try just that.
Still, it would be a drastic step for the players to take, and one that would all but guarantee that the NHL would lose the entire season to another work stoppage, as it did in 2004-05. It took a lost season for the owners to put the salary cap in place — would the players be willing to do the same to get it back?