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ONE WEEK REMAINING: CRUCIAL ROUND OF TALKS FOR NHL
Published September 26, 1994
"The art of compromise takes on a sense of urgency" today when NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow resume talks in Toronto on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (Alan Adams, CANADIAN PRESS/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 9/26). Bettman's negotiating team will be in Toronto through Wednesday. NHL Public Relations VP Arthur Pincus said the league has "no plans" to formally cancel games as of yet: "We'll be evaluating things day to day, but at some point a decision will have to be made about Saturday's games" (Lance Hornby, TORONTO SUN, 9/26). JUST IN CASE: NHL teams have booked their arenas for dates at least through the end of June in order to allow for a full regular-season schedule, followed by a full playoff. NHL teams reportedly plan to play the entire 84-game schedule by rescheduling postponed games at the end of the season (Larry Brooks, N.Y. POST, 9/24). WHERE WERE THEY IN JUNE? In New Jersey, Devils captain Scott Stevens "expressed disappointment" that there had been no negotiations between March and August: "We should have started long ago. There are so many time restrictions and now we face this time restriction. Both sides have to take the blame for that." But Bettman said his requests to meet with Goodenow over the summer were "rebuffed repeatedly": "I don't want to dwell on it because we are talking now, but there were numerous occasions we asked to meet and were turned down" (Larry Brooks, N.Y. POST, 9/24). NHL PROPOSAL JUST ISN'T GOOD 'ENUFF: In St. Louis, NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow met with Blues players on Saturday and updated them on the negotiations. Goodenow: "There's a lot of work left on both sides of the table. We'll try to reach an amicable solution in the appropriate time frame" (ST. LOUIS POST- DISPATCH, 9/25). VANCOUVER SUPPORTS OWNERS: Last week, the Vancouver PROVINCE conducted an unscientific poll in which 261 respondents were asked: "Do you support the players in their salary fight with NHL team owners?" The response was "resounding": 90% No. Kent Gilchrist advises the poll "not be dismissed out of hand" by the players (PROVINCE, 9/26). ARE PLAYERS READY TO DIG IN? In Washington, Capitals Player Rep Don Beaupre: "Right now we're prepared for a three-, four-, five-month lockout" (Mark Asher, WASHINGTON POST, 9/24). But in Tampa Bay, Lightning Player Rep Danton Cole said he "wasn't sure" how strong the union is: "We're strong like a family, but I don't think anyone can say for sure how long either side could hold out" (Tom Jones, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/24). Mighty Ducks Player Rep Bob Corkum called Bettman a "hired gun": "He definitely came here to get a salary cap and he's not going to fold up easily" (CP/VANCOUVER SUN, 9/26). COLUMNISTS VOICE OFF: In Toronto, Jim Hunt writes that Bettman "has done his damndest to provoke the players," and if a lockout occurs, "it's Bettman who will have blood on his hands" (TORONTO SUN, 9/26). In Boston, Kevin Dupont writes, "Try to remember what the players have forgotten: It's Bettman's side that owns the show. ... Hockey players have no choice now but to accept what's before them" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/25). In Philadelphia, Bill Lyons writes, "There is a decidedly mean edge to the way the league has operated recently. It seems to be bristling for a fight" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/24). In Washington, Dave Fay writes, "The players don't trust Bettman because he is an outsider and not a hockey man. Put Wayne Gretzky on one side of the table and Boston GM Harry Sinden on the other and this thing might be settled in 15 minutes. Half an hour, tops" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/25). In Tampa Bay, Roy Cummings advises hockey fans to "aim your angst" at Goodenow. While a possible lockout is one week away, "Goodenow sits, like Nero amid Rome's burning embers. He may negotiate, he may not, but apparently only when it's convenient for him" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/25). COMEDIANS AGAINST THE CAP: At the end of the season premier of "Saturday Night Live," Mike Myers was front-and-center showing off his "NHLPA" sweatshirt (NBC, 9/24).