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HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 42: YOUR MOVE, MR. BETTMAN
Published November 11, 1994
"There was movement on the NHL labor front yesterday, but not nearly enough to break up the logjam," according to Bob McKenzie in this morning's TORONTO STAR. In what NHLPA negotiating committee member Marty McSorley termed "significant concessions," the NHLPA reportedly offered to accept some entry- level salary limitations -- if the league drops its demand for a payroll tax. The union would agree to mandatory two-way contracts (one salary for NHL games, and another if rookies are sent to the minors) and no salary arbitration for first-year players. "The NHL party line, and it's doubtful it changed yesterday, is that entry-level restrictions alone are not nearly enough to provide a 'drag' on player salaries" (TORONTO STAR, 11/11). McSorley: "We made concessions without giving absolute numbers as to what people have to accept. And basically, it was just short of that" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/11). One league source said the players' offer "is not enough" (Dave Fuller, TORONTO SUN, 11/11). "Depending on whom you talk to, the two sides are either making progress or are still miles apart" (Gary Miles, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/11). Sharks Player Rep Jeff Norton: "This is definitely as far as we're going to go" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 11/11). NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow and McSorley "make it seem the union is willing to pinch at the front end -- the youngest talent -- but remains unwilling to allow more than a moderate salary taxation system that only nibbles at the concept of an overall cap. ... The hawks among the owners undoubtedly will want to keep the players out until they buy into some real form of a cap" (Kevin Paul Dupont, BOSTON GLOBE, 11/11). The two sides are expected to talk by phone today, with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman delivering the owners' response. The next face-to- face negotiating session is not expected until next week. HIGH HOPES: At least two team execs "believe the players could be back on the ice preparing for the start of the season by the middle or the end of next week." But one union source said that Goodenow told some players after the meeting that "a return to the ice by next week was unrealistic" (Roy Cummings, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/11). ESPN's Karl Ravech reports the NHL "is currently working on a 60 game interconference schedule, meaning each team would only play teams from the east and vice versa in the west." ESPN's Steve Levy notes that December 1 "is a day that could accommodate" the 60-game schedule ("Sports Center," 11/10). FOUR-ON-FOUR: The opening night of the NHLPA's charity tournament at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton drew 14,640 fans (Helene Elliott, L.A. TIMES, 11/11).