No contact between 2 sides

Updated: December 17, 2012, 8:51 PM ET
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Relations between the NHL and NHLPA have yet to thaw since Friday, when the league made a preemptive strike to send the lockout battle to the courts.

According to NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr, there has been no contact between him and NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly since Friday and no future meetings have been scheduled.

What would it take to spark a return to the negotiating table?

"A phone call," Fehr told ESPNNewYork.com when reached via telephone Monday evening. "I had the impression when we ended the session on Thursday that they had nothing more to say at this time. As soon as they're ready, we're ready."

Fehr expressed the NHLPA's willingness to resume discussions and said that the union has never spurned the opportunity to negotiate.

We are ready, willing, able and eager to negotiate. We want to get an agreement and we want to get it done as soon as possible.

-- NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr

"We are ready, willing, able and eager to negotiate," Fehr said. "We want to get an agreement and we want to get it done as soon as possible."

The two sides last met in mediation on Thursday but were unable to make any progress toward reaching a new collective bargaining agreement. The lack of progress prompted a vote among the union's executive board to begin the process of potentially "disclaiming interest" or dissolving the union.

The NHL responded Friday by filing both a class action complaint in New York federal court and filing an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board.

The NHLPA characterized the league's position as "completely without merit."

The union's membership of 700-plus players is in the process of voting on whether to authorize the executive board to disclaim interest moving forward. The results are expected Friday.

The union has until Jan. 2 to disclaim interest, although Fehr declined to comment on how such a move would impact negotiations.

"I'd respond to that by saying I don't want to comment about internal union matters at this time."

When reached by email Monday morning, Daly told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun that the league "will continue to explore options for moving the process forward, and we hope the Players' Association is doing the same."

"Time is obviously getting short," Daly said.

Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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