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NHL

Penguins players not talking about NHLPA vote

| Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, 4:30 p.m.

NHL players are voting on the future of their union.

Presumably.

More than 700 members of the Players' Association have through Thursday to vote on authorizing the executive board to “disclaim interest,” a legal maneuver that will immediately disband the union. Two-thirds of the players must vote in favor of authorizing the executive board to disclaim interest for it to pass.

Penguins veterans Craig Adams, Matt Cooke, Brooks Orpik and Sidney Crosby each declined comment on the vote Monday after a players' organized practice at Southpointe.

Those players also declined to discuss details of legal action taken by the NHL last Friday, when the league filed a class-action complaint in New York federal court and an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board.

Adams was named by the league in the complaint.

“I'm aware I'm in it,” he said, declining additional comment.

NHLPA officials have not said if the union would “disclaim interest,” a move that would end collective bargaining because players would not be represented as a whole by executive director Donald Fehr or his staff.

NFL and NBA players voted to decertify during labor disputes with those leagues during 2011 lockouts. The NFLPA and NBPA each re-certified when new labor contracts were agreed upon in the NFL and NBA. NFL players were decertified for four months. NBA players struck a deal with the league within days of decertification.

An NHL owners' lockout of players reached Day 93 on Monday. No bargaining sessions are scheduled, deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.

The sides last bargained Dec. 4-5 in New York. Over the past month, federal mediators have twice failed to bridge gaps between the sides.

Games are canceled through Dec. 30, though another round of cancelations is expected by the weekend. The NHL has canceled at least two week's worth of games when announcing schedule adjustments.

Another two-week cancelation would wipe out games through Jan. 14. The shortened 1995 season began Jan. 20 of that year. The 2004-05 season was canceled Feb. 16, 2005.

Players were to receive a fifth pay check Saturday. Their next check is scheduled for Dec. 31.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rrossi@tribweb.com or 412-380-5635.

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