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The NHL canceled 10 more games per team and "worked on plans for a 50-game season with a completely new schedule matching teams solely against conference opponents. That schedule, which reflects the minimum number of games the league says would constitute a meaningful season, would take effect if the lockout ended by mid- or late December." But, "there are no indications" that the labor dispute will be resolved in time to "salvage" 50 games (Helene Elliott, L.A. TIMES, 11/3). Bruins President & GM Harry Sinden: "To sit here and realistically think we're going to play a 70- or even 60-game schedule, you're kidding yourselves." Sinden, on the lack of progress: "It can't go on like this" (Nancy Marrapese, BOSTON GLOBE, 11/3). Sinden, who was optimistic after Monday's 5-hour session: "I'm Mr. Doomsday today" (Joe Gordon, BOSTON HERALD, 11/3). The "death watch" for the season has begun (Lance Hornby, TORONTO SUN, 11/3) PLAYERS' MEETING: More than 200 members of the NHLPA met in Toronto yesterday for an "informational session." But columnist Roy MacGregor writes it was "far more an emergency solidarity show amidst rabid rumors that cracks were beginning to form" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 11/3). One agent present at the meeting: "I think the players finally got a grip on the fact that there might not be any hockey this year" (Dave Fay, WASHINGTON TIMES, 11/3). "If management had been expecting the players to fold, it is time to reassess its strategy" (Larry Brooks, N.Y. POST, 11/3). PLAYOFFS? WHAT PLAYOFFS? One of the possibilities discussed by the players was a "union-ordered cancellation of playoff games" (Joe LaPointe, N.Y. TIMES, 11/3). EUROPEAN VACATION: One issue dividing players is the exodus to Europe. Brett Hull called on players to stay home: "I'm a little upset right now at some of the Europeans going home to play before we had a chance to discuss it, but that's their decision" (ESPN, 11/2). TAKING SIDES: In New York, Larry Brooks writes that the economic arguments force him to take the owners' side in the dispute. But he is highly critical of the league's job selling its proposal. "It is time for [NHL Commissioner Gary] Bettman to buy 60 minutes on CBC or TSN in Canada and the same time on ESPN in the States to explain his program to the players. ... I do not want to hear name-calling or posturing. I want to hear his vision of growth for the league and its players" (N.Y. POST, 11/3).
NBA Commissioner David Stern hosted the first of this year's weekly NBA telephone press conferences yesterday. LEAGUE MARKETING: Stern was asked about the success the league has had marketing its individual stars: "There was an enormous amount [of money] put behind our athletes by beverage companies and athletic shoe companies. ... And number two, we sort of moved in at a time when video and music opportunities were extraordinary and our players, [put] to music, are really quite something." LABOR UPDATE: On the decision to play the season without a CBA: "What we decided was that for whatever reason, there had not been a full opportunity to explore what we think is the possibility of a long term agreement. ... It was a better idea for us if we could make the right kind of deal with the players to extend the agreement for one more year, rather than draw the line at this time." D.C. ARENA: On BET President Robert Johnson's plan to privately fund the a downtown arena in Washington, DC, Stern was asked if the NBA would approve an expansion team for DC if Bullets owner Abe Pollin decides not to move from suburban Maryland. Stern called that scanrio a "long shot, at best." He noted that a DC expansion franchise would have competition from many cities -- in particular, St. Louis, Anaheim, Mexico City, Memphis (THE DAILY).
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue yesterday placed the Jacksonville Jaguars into the AFC Central and the Carolina Panthers into the NFC West, both for the '95 season only. Tagliabue also appointed a 10-man committee on realignment to be chaired by AFC President Lamar Hunt of the Chiefs and NFC President Wellington Mara of the Giants. The committee will come up with a recommendation on realignment for the 1996 season and beyond. Tagliabue expects a vote in March (Leonard Shapiro, WASHINGTON POST, 11/3). But Bucs VP Rich McKay doubts there will be realignment: "It's certainly on life support" (Pat Yasinskas, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/3).
"The NFL's spread-the-wealth philosophy on Super Bowl sites plucked about $200 million from South Florida's pocket Wednesday as San Francisco won the 1999 game." NFL owners said they were satisfied that a proposed $26M renovation of Candlestick Park was guaranteed. That assurance overcame Miami's advantages in weather and $2M more in projected revenue for the league. A league source said the final vote was 18-10 (Greg Cote, MIAMI HERALD, 11/3). ATLANTA IN 2000? Atlanta Sports Council's Robert Morgan said that Atlanta's hopes of hosting the Super Bowl were boosted with the selection of San Francisco in 1999. Morgan: "I'm not sure owners would have wanted Miami and Atlanta back-to-back." NFL Exec Dir Jim Steeg said the site for Super Bowl XXXIV will be selected next October, with Atlanta bidding against Houston, Miami, Pasadena, Phoenix and Tampa (Len Pasquarelli, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/3). STEPPIN' OUT AT HALFTIME: Tony Bennett and Patti LaBelle headline the halftime show of the '95 Super Bowl at Joe Robbie Stadium (MIAMI HERALD, 11/3).