Among the issues unsettled during the lockout were whether players would participate in the Olympics and realignment.

The first indication of the relationship between the NHL and the NHLPA in the post-Owners Lockout III Era will come within the next week when the parties are expected to discuss realignment that would go into effect with the 2013-14 season. Last winter the league unilaterally announced a plan to realign into a four-conference setup for this season. The plan, which featured two seven-team conferences, two eight-team conferences with the top four teams in each conference then qualifying for the playoffs, was quashed within days when the NHLPA refused to give its assent.

Now, they’re trying it again, and the rules of engagement remain the same in that the union must approve any such change in working conditions, though, as deputy commissioner Bill Daly noted in an email, that approval “must not be unreasonably withheld.”

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