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HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 45: PLAYERS OFFER DRAWS A YAWN
Published November 14, 1994
"To the players, it was a 'significant' concession. To the owners, it was nothing," according to Damien Cox in Saturday's TORONTO STAR. On Thursday, the NHLPA had offered a proposal "initially portrayed as a comprehensive scheme that would control entry-level player salaries through a variety of methods. As it turned out, the proposal contained concepts, but no hard numbers." One league official told the CANADIAN PRESS the offer was "the most insignificant concession in the history of labor negotiations" (TORONTO STAR, 11/12). One GM: "I thought we had a deal in the works. Now I'm convinced we won't have a season. This thing has no teeth, no bite" (Jim Smith, N.Y. NEWSDAY, 11/12). NHLPA VP Marty McSorley, on an ownership rejection of the players' offer: "It would mean that there is no desire whatsoever for compromising. It's an attempt for absolute control" (Joe LaPointe, N.Y. TIMES, 11/12). THE LEAGUE'S OFFICIAL RESPONSE: A statement was released on Friday by NHL Senior VP & General Counsel Jeff Pash: "The NHL has not been offered a rookie cap. Rather, the union has made some proposals relating to entry-level players, which are being considered as the negotiating process continues" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/12). WHAT ARE THEY AFTER? In Toronto, Gare Joyce writes, "The players are willing to commit to a financial hit to get the game going again. ... But the league sounds as if it wants not just a quick fix but a far-reaching one to boot" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/12). In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont writes Bettman and NHL owners want a "grand slam": "The owners won't say it, but they must relish the union's softening. Undoubtedly, they'll keep pushing Bettman to get more, bargain for a real rookie cap and an overall salary cap. That's why their response on Friday was only a desire to keep talking at the table" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/13). THIS WEEK: Sources say the NHL is preparing a counter-offer for tomorrow or Wednesday, when NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow are in Toronto for Hall of Fame ceremonies (CP/Vancouver PROVINCE, 11/13). DEADLINE TIME? This morning, Dupont reports there could be a "significant change" in the NHLPA's strategy: the possibility that the union "might pick a date in the near future and insist on a contract settlement -- effectively a drop-dead date" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/14). PLAYERS TALK TOURNEY: The NHLPA is considering several "major arenas" across North America for an international tournament this winter if the lockout continues. Arenas mentioned: The Palace at Auburn Hills, the Rosemont Horizon, and sites in Minnesota, Hamilton and Saskatoon. Palace/NBA Pistons President Tom Wilson: "We'd be very interested." NHLPA execs say the tournament could begin in late December or early January, after Wayne Gretzky and other stars finish their planned tour of Europe (Joe LaPointe, N.Y. TIMES, 11/13). Gretzky's agent, Mike Barnett, has "hit a few snags" in organizing the European tour, with available arenas (7,000 or more) the biggest problem. Barnett expects a 5-city tour from December 1-12 (Kevin Paul Dupont, BOSTON GLOBE, 11/13). The Hamilton tourney raised $500,000 for Ronald McDonald Charities of Canada and $200,000 for minor league hockey (Mult., 11/14). QUOTE-BOARD: Montreal writer Jeff Blair on the 4-on-4 tourney: "It was no worse than your average all-star game with better goaltending" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 11/13). Flyers GM Bobby Clarke, a former NHLPA President: "Read Marvin Miller's book and you'll know what Bob Goodenow is doing. ... If players start thinking management is the enemy, then we've got big problems" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/13).