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HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 31: ACCOUNTING FOR DIFFERENCES
Published October 31, 1994
NHL Senior VP & General Counsel Jeffrey Pash said that the league's "revised accounting practices" should satisfy the union's concerns that the owners will hide revenues in any financial reports the NHL provides (CANADIAN PRESS/ VANCOUVER SUN, 10/31). Last week, the league and union traded faxes on a proposal to begin play under the owners' system while the union audits the league's finances. NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow's response: "To be candid, we are skeptical of the quality of information you might provide" (Len Hochberg, WASHINGTON POST, 10/29). "The catch, as far as the union was concerned, was that, if the audit supported the NHL's claim that it lost $32 million in 1992-93 and that 13 teams were operating in the red, the players would have to abide by the terms of that last proposal. That would be admitting that the league was right all along" (Gary Miles, PHILA. INQUIRER, 10/30). The NHL proposed if the audit did not support their claim of growing losses, their taxation plan would be removed (Larry Brooks, N.Y. POST, 10/29). THE EVER-SHORTENING SCHEDULE: The league is set to pare its schedule again today, and NHL Dir of Hockey Ops Brian Burke said, "If it is up to me, the number will be in double digits" (CANADIAN PRESS/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/29). IS A ROOKIE CAP THE KEY? "There is growing support for the theory that by giving in on the rookie salary cap issue, the NHLPA could bring a quick end to the work stoppage," writes Roy Cummings in the TAMPA TRIBUNE. One league source said the NHL was prepared to resume play if the union accepted its proposal for a rookie cap. But, when presented with the idea, Goodenow reportedly responded, "If that's what you came to talk about then we're wasting our time here." One NHL player: "I'd say 90 percent of the players would agree to it" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 10/30). In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont sees "indications" both sides "might be able to come to terms" on a rookie cap/floor (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/30). ALMOST A HEALTH CARE CRISIS: "The NHL has decided to stop paying health insurance costs for locked-out players and their families, saying it is following U.S. federal law by giving players 60-day notice that they can keep their coverage only if they pay the entire cost themselves." The union charges the league with "slow notification" claiming it found out only after Anaheim's Tom Kurvers and his 7 1/2-month pregnant wife were involved in an auto accident. Kurvers: "I found out at the hospital. ... I was a little bit surprised." But NHL VP of Public Relations Arthur Pincus said "no player has been left without coverage." Goodenow: "They sent notices by regular mail and they didn't call us" (Norwood & Dillman, L.A. TIMES, 10/29). The union started picking up insurance costs as soon as it found out about the lapse (Dave Fay, WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/31). PLAYERS' LEAGUES: In New York, Mark Everson sees the union's ability to stage exhibition games as a positive sign for a players' league: "The owners may have started the sequence that puts themselves out of business" (N.Y. POST, 10/31). "The bet is" that IMG will sponsor Wayne Gretzky's tour of Europe (Kevin Paul Dupont, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/30). SOLIDARITY WATCH: In St. Louis, Dave Luecking reports that Blues President Jack Quinn met with some of the Blues' stars and other team officials met with some of their players to "work on them." But, "the owners' effort has had no impact" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/29). ESPN's Linda Cohn: "On the subject of possible cracks in the union, Wayne Gretzky said he can guarantee 25 of the top guys would not cross and would stay unified" ("SportsCenter," 10/28). SEEING STARS: The Stars fired 13 of their 55 full-time employees yesterday, mostly from the sales and community relations departments. Stars President Jim Lites said some might be rehired, but they would be evaluated on a "case-by-case basis." Stars VP of Advertising & Promotions Jeff Cogen: "I can tell you this, there are very quality people out there in the marketplace looking for jobs today" (Mike Heika, FORT WORTH STAR- TELEGRAM, 10/29).