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RHETORIC TURNS UGLY AS NHL LOCKOUT ANNOUNCEMENT NEARS
Published September 29, 1994
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).