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In what Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver termed an "emotional" meeting, NFL owners approved the NFL Management Council Executive Committee's (CEC) recommendation for an expansion stocking plan. The plan awards the Panthers and Jaguars 14 extra draft picks in '95 and '96, including additional selections in each round of the April '95 draft. It also allows the teams to start signing free- agent players not on NFL rosters on December 15, 11 days before the end of the regular season. In February '95, a veteran allocation draft will occur from which the two teams will select between 30-42 players from the 28 existing rosters (Charles Chandler, CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/29). IS EVERYONE HAPPY? Panthers President Mike McCormack: "We're pleased with it. There are some things you don't like. We didn't get everything we wanted. But it's a plan we can live with." Panthers GM Bill Polian called the extra draft picks "huge" (Charles Chandler, CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/29). Wayne Weaver: "Having 10 picks in the first three rounds, that is really big" (Gordon Forbes, USA TODAY, 9/29). Chiefs GM Carl Peterson called it "an extremely fair and generous stocking plan": "I think both expansion teams should be very happy" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/29). REALIGNMENT EXAMINED: The realignment "logjam" continued, "furthering the likelihood" the Panthers will be slotted in the NFC West and the Jaguars in the AFC Central, "with no movement of existing teams." McCormack said owners "are all for it until they have to move." Cowboys owner Jerry Jones feels because of the "complexities involved with realignment," he foresees no changes (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/29). The league is examining six plans ranging from slotting the two teams in the current 4-team divisions to having nine teams total changing divisions, including four conference changes (Gordon Forbes, USA TODAY, 9/29). In Tampa, Pat Yasinkas sees the chances of the Bucs moving to the NFC or AFC East "on the rise" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/29). COOKE CLEAR TO MOVE: The owners approved the Redskins' request to move from RFK Stadium in DC to a proposed new 78,600- seat stadium in Laurel, MD. The vote was "not unanimous, with several teams, including the Rams, abstaining." Commissioner Paul Tagliabue emphasized that the vote would have no impact on Baltimore's plans to get a team (Leonard Shapiro, WASHINGTON POST, 9/29).
MONTREAL: David Johnston writes that Bettman "is poised to become the first person in the history of hockey not to get a two-minute penalty for blatant delay of game" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 9/29). TORONTO: Christie Blatchford writes that Bettman "doesn't understand our [Canadian] culture, the hockey culture, and makes virtually no effort now to disguise his lack of interest." Blatchford warns that Bettman "better not push his luck": "If the Commissioner wants a fight, he shall have it. He may not be able to tiptoe through the blood so easily" (TORONTO SUN, 9/29). VANCOUVER: Mike Beamish calls Bettman a "mouse who can roar" (VANCOUVER SUN, 9/29). NEW YORK: Joe LaPointe writes: "Although somewhat understandable, the personal criticism of Bettman is somewhat simplistic" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/29). Frank Brown: "Starting the season without an agreement is suicide" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/29). Larry Brooks criticizes the NHLPA: "This union's righteous stance against negotiating a cap on its members' income has no basis in real collective-bargaining history." Brooks adds: "The fehr [sic] of many NHL management people is being realized: that Goodenow is more concerned with his and his union's image with Major League Baseball Players' Association executive director Don Fehr and his striking ballplayers than he is in working with ownership to carve an agreement" (N.Y. POST, 9/29). FLORIDA: In Miami, David Neal notes that you do not "shoot yourself in the foot then scream 'Medic!' You slap a field dressing on there": "Which is why Bettman is failing the NHL as field officer by calling for a lockout and rationalizing it by saying he doesn't want to end this labor dispute with a short- term solution, but rather one that will help hockey in the long term" (MIAMI HERALD, 9/29). BOSTON: Kevin Paul Dupont offers a positive profile of Bettman and credits him for getting hockey "in the race for the American sports dollar" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/29). But Michael Gee criticizes Bettman and NHL owners for fighting over money that isn't there yet: "Winning back old customers after a work stoppage is difficult. Winning new customers without a product to give them is impossible" (BOSTON HERALD, 9/29). LOS ANGELES: Ron Rappoport writes: "Tell the truth now. Bettman is secretly still working for the National Basketball Association, right?" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 9/28).
NBPA Exec Dir Charles Grantham said the union will seek to put on its own games should the NBA lock out its players at or near the start of the '94-95 season in November. Grantham: "My reaction is that we'll just have to show basketball in a different way. We'll play our own games, and, hopefully, we'll get them on television. If they're preventing us from working, then that gives us the right to play elsewhere. If they, in fact, move to lock the players out, we would go elsewhere." A source within NBA management told the BOSTON HERALD that any lockout is not likely until Thanksgiving (Steve Bulpett, BOSTON HERALD, 9/28). Rudy Martzke reports that CBS college basketball announcer Billy Packer said he has let the NBPA know that "he'd like to be involved in arranging for telecasts of 'alternative games.'" Packer: "This is business, like a hundred things I'm doing. But whatever anybody says, I'm acting on behalf of Billy Packer, not CBS Sports." But CBS Sports Senior VP Rick Gentile "unequivocally" denies a report that CBS and ESPN have a deal to televise 10 charity games in case of a lockout. NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol, whose network carries the NBA: "I don't know where Billy gets the time for this. I thought he spent most of his time in airports, hanging around with bowlers and trying to find out who's more popular, him or the bowlers." NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik: "There is no lockout, so there is no reason to engage in any debate about the consequences of a lockout" (USA TODAY, 9/29).
The NFLPA and four Eagles players whose salaries were cut as much as 30% last month are taking the club to arbitration in an effort to regain lost wages. Attorney Shepard Goldfein of the NY Bar Association's Sports Law Committee is scheduled to arbitrate the case on October 11. According to NFLPA Asst Exec Dir Doug Allen, the union seeks to have salaries restored to previously negotiated figures (Kevin Mulligan, PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 9/28).
In New York, Larry Brooks reports that the plan rejected by the NHLPA would have created a minimum team salary as well as restraints on spending. Currently, there is a $14M gap between the highest-spending team and the lowest (N.Y. POST, 9/29). The following is a list of 1994-95 calculated team payrolls as tabulated by THE HOCKEY NEWS. The payrolls below are not final, as several teams have significant players yet to sign (HOCKEY NEWS, 9/30 issue).
FIGURES IN MILLIONSTEAMPAYROLLTEAMPAYROLL
1 Blues$23.52 14 Flyers$14.08 2 Kings$23.43 15 Calgary$13.96 3 Penguins$20.13 16 Caps$13.59 4 Detroit$19.16 17 Quebec$13.47 5 Sabres^$18.96 18 Montreal$12.91 6 Rangers^$18.04 19 Bruins$12.71 7 Chicago$17.85 20 Islanders$12.68 8 Canucks$17.16 21 Anaheim$12.59 9 Toronto$16.51 22 Florida$11.66 10 Devils$16.49 23 Sharks$11.35 11 Whalers$15.11 24 Lightning$10.48 12 Dallas$14.67 25 Ottawa$9.35 13 Jets$14.09 26 Oilers$9.21
NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow yesterday rejected a revised proposal submitted Tuesday by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. Goodenow said the same problems that existed in previous proposals remain. With no formal negotiations scheduled today or in the near future, "apparently all that remains" is for Bettman to officially postpone the start of the season. Bettman will brief owners on the talks today and, "barring a major miracle," will announce Friday that the season will be postponed. Bettman said he "was not surprised" by Goodenow's decision not to continue talking: "They said they would let us know when we are ready to meet a gain and they have not suggested a meeting or requested one." Goodenow "did not hold out any hope" of a upcoming resolution (John MacKinnon, OTTAWA CITIZEN, 9/29). MAJOR MISCONDUCT FROM CHELIOS: The dispute "turned ugly" yesterday when the Blackhawks' Chris Chelios warned Bettman that "his life could be in danger if he locks out players" (Dave Fuller, TORONTO SUN, 9/29). Besides the threat, Chelios said the problem with the negotiations is that Bettman "doesn't know anything about hockey": "I don't know whether it's this little man syndrome or what. He's the problem" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/29). Chelios' criticisms were one of many made by other players "lining up to take pokes" at Bettman. The Nordiques' Joe Sakic said Bettman "knows nothing about hockey and doesn't care whether there is hockey or not" (TORONTO SUN, 9/29). The Bruins' Cam Neely: "They're not shooting themselves in the foot. They're shooting themselves in the head, if you ask me" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/28). The NHL could issue a $500 fine against Chelios (TORONTO SUN, 9/29). The Sharks' Vlastimil Kroupa said Bettman's proposal "reminds me a lot of those days in the Soviet Union when I played for the Russian national team" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/29). SUPPORT FOR BETTMAN WANING? In Toronto, Dave Fuller reports that NHL sources claim that while Bettman has the public support of the 26 teams, a "handful of wealthier clubs -- including St. Louis and Chicago -- don't like what's going on" (TORONTO SUN, 9/29). But in Vancouver, Frank Luba reports that the Canucks will not lose a profitable cash flow due to the upcoming postponement of the season. "No games means no salaries or rent." Canucks owner Arthur Griffiths contends that despite reaching the Stanley Cup finals last season, the club "still managed to make less than the average player makes": "It's appropriate to take a hard position at this point" (VANCOUVER PROVINCE, 9/29). LEAGUE WAVES OFF WAIVER DRAFT: The league yesterday announced the postponing of the waiver draft. According to league rules, the draft will be held within seven days of the start of the regular season (Mult, 9/29). IHL, HERE THEY COME? IHL PR Dir Tim Bryant told THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY that non-affiliated IHL teams may sign some NHL players: "We want nothing more than for the NHL to start its season. And we realize it [signing players] is a short-term thing. But some teams may" (THE DAILY). NHLPA spokesperson Steve McAllister concurred. But Capitals GM Dave Poile said players "will not be allowed" to play in the IHL: "The players are all under contract, whether the season opens or not" (Sandra McKee, Baltimore SUN, 9/29).