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CHINESE OR DELI? HOCKEY TALKS RESUME IN NEW YORK TODAY
Published October 4, 1994
ESPN's Keith Olbermann: "Home ice advantage to the league, the two sides agreed to meet at the NHL headquarters in New York. The next big bargaining issue: decaf or regular" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/3). NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow had "expressed reluctance" about New York and wanted to keep the talks in Toronto. But NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said he didn't think Toronto "would be a good idea." One management source referred to "safety concerns" after player and fan threats: "Bettman is concerned about the people there" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 10/4). MAKE THE CALL: NHL VP & Dir of Hockey Operations Brian Burke: "Lock the doors, order the Chinese food. Nobody leaves until a deal's done. I'd love to do that" (Alan Adams, CANADIAN PRESS/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/4). GRIDLOCK: While both sides publicly indicate a willingness to talk, "neither side is ready to make a deal on the level the other would require." One source close to many players: "The players won't accept a cap or a luxury tax. They'll talk about a payroll tax." But a management source says any new system would have to "have an impact on players' salaries" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 10/4). Oilers Player Rep Bill Ranford said that the players have asked Bettman "to put the salary-cap issue off to the side and start talking about some of the other issues, and Gary said he has no interest in talking about anything else but the salary cap at this point" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/3). NO SKATE RULE: The NHLPA had issued a "no pay, no practice" rule over the weekend closing all training camps. But yesterday, "the union pushed it a step further." Whalers Player Rep Pat Verbeek: "No NHL player will go on the ice for two weeks, not even to skate in his own backyard" (Jeff Jacobs, HARTFORD COURANT, 10/4). EVERYONE ON THE SAME PAGE? One source reports that there was "something less than unanimity" among NHL owners when the league opted for postponement. The source: "Some teams wanted the season to go ahead, but they were in the minority." Maple Leaf Gardens Dir Brian Bellmore and Penguins Owner Howard Baldwin were both critics (William Houston, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/4). In Vancouver, Tony Gallagher reports the Leafs and the Red Wings "are among the seven teams within the minority who want peace made as quickly as possible so the games can go ahead." Canucks Owner Arthur Griffiths publicly backs Bettman, but he has also "expressed an interest to get this thing over with and get hockey on the ice" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 10/4). JUST WHEN YOU THINK YOU KNOW WHO YOUR FRIENDS ARE: Some players argue that NHL Governors should join Bettman in the negotiations, claiming that when they negotiated for themselves - - led by the Blackhawks' Bill Wirtz and the Flyers' Ed Snider -- deals were made more quickly (Bill Beacon, CANADIAN PRESS/OTTAWA CITIZEN, 10/4). But Tony Gallagher reports Wirtz "is adamant the players be taught a lesson no matter what the cost" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 10/4). And Snider is quoted today as saying: "If the players really want to get a deal done, we can get it done in two weeks. If not, I'm willing to throw out the season" (Gary Miles, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/4).