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HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 40: "GUARDED OPTIMISM"
Published November 9, 1994
ESPN's Keith Olbermann cited the Associated Press which quoted an "unidentified player agent" saying the NHL labor talks went well enough Monday that talks will resume either Thursday or Friday. ESPN's Al Morganti says "significant movement" was made on the issues of the rookie salary cap and the arbitration system. "For the first time in weeks," there is "some optimism" on both sides ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 11/8). But in this morning's NEW YORK POST, Larry Brooks is not as optimistic. Brooks reports that "no negotiating -- repeat, no negotiating" took place. Brooks calls the NHLPA head "Stonewall Goodenow" over his reluctance to negotiate and accuses Goodenow of simply raising questions at the last meeting -- "questions that should have been asked 10 months ago, if at all" (N.Y. POST, 11/9). "The fact that the two sides would meet again [in the same week] produced a sense of guarded optimism in hockey circles" (Alan Adams, CANADIAN PRESS/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/9). In Toronto, Dave Fuller reports that at least four teams -- the Blues, Stars, Kings and Rangers -- are lobbying NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman "to forge an agreement with the players union and start the season." But the "hawks" among the owners "may actually be gaining strength" (TORONTO SUN, 11/9). NHLPA EXHIBITION: Only two players showed for a "union- sanctioned photo opportunity and public relations exercise" to promote the 4-on-4 exhibition games at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, ONT. The NHLPA is hoping for a crowd of at least 8,000 tomorrow, and possibly 10,000 each on Friday and Saturday. Fewer than 20,000 seats have been sold, with "significant numbers" of complimentary tickets making up the difference (Damien Cox, TORONTO STAR, 11/9). NEWS & NOTES: According to documents prepared for Madison Square Garden's sale by Viacom, which were obtained by the NEW YORK TIMES, the Rangers posted a $7.7M loss for the year ended December 31, 1994, not including the NHL Semi-Finals and Finals (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 11/9). ....The Lightning still have not paid players for working during training camp, payments that were supposed to have been made no later than November 1. Lightning Exec VP Mel Lowell cited confusion during the lockout, and said the players should receive their checks by the end of this week (Roy Cummings, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/9)....Some House of Commons members are pushing for inquiry into the work stoppage, with one Liberal MP threatening possible government intervention (Fuller & Durkan, TORONTO SUN, 11/9). FORMER PLAYER ASSESSES CURRENT LABOR STRUGGLE: NHL Hall of Famer Ken Dryden examined the "Battle for Professional Sports," focusing on the hockey work stoppage, in Sunday's TORONTO SUN MAGAZINE. Dryden on ownership: "Without the prospect of labor peace on your terms, will you still get the $150 million (frachise fee). I don't think Bob Goodenow ... yet understands this, or do his players. ... I fear we are closer to the beginning than to the end." Speaking of hardliners Glen Sather of the Oilers and the Bruins' Harry Sinden, Dryden writes "Former players themselves, it is as if, after all their lives aspiring to climb this mountain, finding themselves at this current top, they feel cheated. And resentful" (TORONTO SUN, 11/6).