SBD/18/Leagues Governing Bodies

HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 49: BEANTOWN BREAKTHROUGH?

     Negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA resumed yesterday
in Boston with plans for the two sides to meet again today.  And,
according to Joe Gordon in today's BOSTON HERALD, the "lockout
logjam might have been effectively broken."  One source "close to
the negotiations" reports that the owners "were prepared to pull
their demand for a restrictive payroll tax off the table in
exchange for a quid pro quo that would be a deal-maker."  The
source:  "I know (ownership) was ready to pull the luxury tax off
the table (yesterday) afternoon.  They wanted something in return
in the area of arbitration.  I don't think the players would
settle for the elimination of arbitration, but I believe they
were willing to listen to a proposal that would make it something
like baseball arbitration.  A player could file for it after
three of five years" (BOSTON HERALD, 11/18).  CP's Alan Adams
also cites "unconfirmed reports that the owners were going to
make a meaningful offer with the absence of the controversial
payroll tax.  But whether that meant the owners were going to
remove the tax or put it on a shelf until progress was made on
other substantive issues wasn't clear" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL,
11/18).
     CLIFF NOTES:  Several observers noted the positive effect of
Maple Leaf President & GM Cliff Fletcher's presence.  In Toronto,
Bob McKenzie writes that NHL brass would have not brought
Fletcher in "if they didn't think his inclusion is critical to
the process" (TORONTO STAR, 11/18).  Also in Toronto, Al Strachan
writes Fletcher "may have provided the push that was needed" to
get the talks moving again (TORONTO SUN, 11/18).  Panthers Player
Rep John Vanbiesbrouck called Fletcher "a common-sense,
compromising authority" (Joe LaPointe, N.Y. TIMES, 11/18).
     PRE-THANKSGIVING CARVING:  The NHL announced that it has
canceled 10 more games, meaning that maximum number of games a
team can play in '94-95 is 60 -- 30 at home, 30 on the road
(NHL).  According to the N.Y. POST, the league is considering
shrinking the first two playoff rounds to best-of-five.  That
could allow for a 56-game schedule starting as late as January 14
(Larry Brooks, N.Y. POST, 11/18).
     "HOCKEY NIGHT IN EUROPE":  A deal is "imminent" with CBC to
air games from Wayne Gretzky's planned NHL all-star tour of
Europe (Tony Gallagher, Vancouver PROVINCE, 11/18).
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