Decertification winners and losers 

December, 3, 2012

NHL RinkDerek Leung/Getty ImagesIf the NHLPA chooses decertification, rinks might be empty for a long time.
So let's say this goes all the way. Let's say the NHLPA gets fed up with the lack of progress in getting a deal done and decertifies. Not as a way to scare NHL owners back to the negotiating table but to really make history in pro sports and change the structure of professional hockey in North America as we know it.

There's so much unknown about the result of decertification because no group of players has been willing to go completely nuclear on its league.

It undoubtedly would be a remarkable transformation of the game. If successful, there'd be no more salary cap (probably). No more draft. No artificial restrictions on contracts. Some would argue that any contract signed during the previous CBA might be voided because it was signed in a system that violated antitrust rules.

"It's a gray area. The argument from the players would be they are free agents. But then some players would say, 'No, we're not.' It could go either way," one agent said. "The owners may say everyone is a free agent."