The Washington Times - May 16, 2012, 03:06PM

Negotiations for the upcoming collective bargaining agreement will make up the biggest story of the NHL offseason, even though that’s something most fans don’t want to hear.

The most important thing is the game. We all want to play hockey,” Washington Capitals player representative Brooks Laich said. “It doesn’t benefit anybody if there’s no hockey so that stuff will work itself out. I’m confident in that.”

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But the working out is yet to come. The NHL took a first step toward that by notifying the Players’ Association that it wants to “terminate and/or modify” the CBA when it expires Sept. 15. This was a requirement for one side to complete 120 days before expiration before negotiating a new deal. Otherwise the old CBA would have remained in place for another year.

Sports Business Journal was first to report the news.

Asked Monday about the expiring CBA, Caps general manager George McPhee did not want to touch the discussion.

Yeah, the labor situation is nothing that I can comment on or want to get involved in,” he said. “I run a hockey department and will let Dick Patrick and Ted Leonsis worry about that stuff.”