SBD/17/Leagues Governing Bodies

HOCKEY TALKS IN DEEP FREEZE; WHO WILL BREAK THE ICE?

     "Like two people after a first date, neither the NHL nor the
union apparently wants to make the first move and be seen as
overanxious or too willing to make a settlement. ... The owners,
however, clearly believe [NHLPA Exec Dir] Bob Goodenow and his
negotiating committee are stalling, and so [NHL Commissioner]
Gary Bettman is expected to call Goodenow today or tomorrow to
arrange some bargaining sessions for this week" (Damien Cox,
TORONTO STAR, 10/17).  The NHLPA claims it "is trying to figure
out what can be negotiated."  Goodenow:  "We thought they were
trying to help the small-market teams, but apparently not.  Now
they say the issue is a salary cap.  If that's really the issue,
we have a huge problem" (Mark Everson, N.Y. POST, 10/17).
     PLAYER EXODUS BEGINS:  Marty McSorley, a member of the
NHLPA's negotiating team, is said to be "very, very close" to
signing a deal with the IHL Las Vegas Thunder.  McSorley's
brother is a Thunder assistant coach.  Meanwhile, the Kings said
Jari Kurri will return to play in Finland, while the Nordiques
have given Peter Forsberg permission to play for his former
Swedish League team (AP/Vancouver PROVINCE, 10/17).  McSorley's
salary reportedly would be between $5,000-10,000/game, but CNN's
Mark Morgan noted, "more importantly, McSorley would become the
first established NHL player to join a minor league team during
the lockout" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 10/16).  Kai Hietarinta,
president of the Finnish Ice Hockey Federation and treasurer of
the IIHF, responded to the IIHF's position that NHL players will
not be welcome in Europe:  "We welcome our players back with open
arms.  The IIHF might not like it" (CANADIAN PRESS/VANCOUVER SUN,
10/15).
     NOT GOING ANYWHERE:  Neil Abbott, agent for Jeremy Roenick,
who expressed interest in playing for the IHL Chicago Wolves,
said it doesn't make sense "economically" for Roenick to play
elsewhere, given the likely cost of insurance (Robert Markus,
CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/15).
     LACE 'EM UP:  The NHLPA said on Friday that players were
free to resume skating.  NHLPA spokesperson Steve McAllister, who
denied a "no-skate" directive was ever issued by the union, said
returning to the ice "should [not] be perceived as a sign of
weakness" (Kevin Paul Dupont, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/15).  Ranger
Player Rep Mike Richter floated the idea of a players' league
(N.Y. POST, 10/15).
     CHICAGO FIRE, PART II?  Blackhawk defenseman Cam Russell
denied a report from the TORONTO STAR last week that Goodenow had
to fly to Chicago "to put out a potential fire" last week in the
form of insurrection among Blackhawk players.  Russell:  "Some
guys had some concerns, but there wasn't anybody on our team at
yesterday's meetings who expressed any desire to turn against the
union" (Robert Markus, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/15).  NHLPA
spokesperson Steve McAllister said Goodenow's trip was "not a
trouble-shooting mission" (Kevin Paul Dupont, BOSTON GLOBE,
10/17).  Despite claims of unity, Stephen Harris writes it is
"merely a question of time before cracks begin to show in the
ranks" of the NHLPA (BOSTON HERALD, 10/14).  One "NHL insider":
"I give them about three paychecks.  Then, they'll be back" (Dave
Luecking, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/15).
     FANS FIGHT BACK:  Long Island attorney Paul Kurland, an
Islanders season-ticket holder, notified Bettman that he will
file a class-action suit on November 1 insisting the owners start
the season or issue complete refunds to season-ticket holders
(Filip Bondy, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/16).
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