In the 1994 baseball stoppage, the owners hurt their case for declaring a legal impasse (which would have allowed them to set their own rules and bring in replacement players) by continuing to negotiate with the union. I'm not clear on the specifics, but I believe the reasoning was that leaving the table once you are already engaged in negotiations can be seen as "bad faith," while never even approaching the negotiation table until the union agrees to acknowledge the league's version of the problem can be seen as a sign that an impasse is necessary. If this is the case, it would explain quite a bit about the league's current refusal to negotiate with the NHLPA. But it would also raise the question of why the union isn't doing more to engage in talks. Surely the NHLPA wants to avoid an impasse (the speculation I've heard is that the union's upcoming proposal will be first and foremost an attempt to make the league look like it is negotiating in bad faith, and therefore, make it impossible for them to declare an impasse). Is anyone familiar enough about labor/sports law to know if it is actually advantageous for the NHL to avoid negotiating with the union if they are planning to declare a legal impasse?