The news of Laich’s signing comes on the same day the NHL and NHLPA are scheduled to resume formal bargaining sessions after 16 days without a meeting. Friday’s gathering could kick off a weekend of discussions between the two sides, according to multiple reports, and represents the last chance for an agreement to be reached before regular season games will be canceled.
The NHL is expected to start canceling regular season contests next week if a new CBA isn’t in place. The league wiped out all remaining preseason games Thursday.
The two sides will have to gain traction quickly, though, and they’re expected to discuss non-core economic issues — contract lengths, Olympic participation, realignment, drug testing, etc. — Friday rather than the division of revenues that has been the main point of contention during these negotiations.
While it’s tough to speculate how this round of talks will go, the departure of Laich, who is the Capitals’ NHLPA representative, doesn’t offer much encouragement that a deal will be reached anytime soon.