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HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 75: INFORMAL TALKS ONLY
Published December 14, 1994
Talks between the NHL and its players' union will resume today or tomorrow after contacts were made "at lower levels of both bargaining committees," according to a report this morning by the CANADIAN PRESS' Alan Adams. Sources said the talks "will be held on an informal, though official, basis and not involve the full bargaining committees" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 12/14). One source familiar with the planned "get-together" stressed that it was "no big deal" (Len Hochberg, WASHINGTON POST, 12/14). There is, however, considerable "lobbying behind the scenes" by players, GMs, agents and league officials in search of a settlement (Kevin Allen, USA TODAY, 12/14). OUTLOOK: League sources indicate that, "while the possibility for a deal without a tax system existed several weeks ago, it no longer does." One source: "The hardliners are taking over" (Damien Cox, TORONTO STAR, 12/14). Hockey analyst Stan Fischler: "It's now up to the union to make a sensible offer, they have been absurd up until this point, they simply have not had a dose of reality. ... I'm convinced, and others have said so, if the owners' offer were put to a secret ballot the players would approve it, but they are being led by a guy who to me is very unrealistic, Bob Goodenow" ("Sports View," 12/13). OWNERS QUOTES: Whalers Owner Peter Karmanos: "If the union really chumps us on this CBA and half the teams go out of business -- all the Canadian teams, the L.A. Kings and two or three that are weakly financed and front-loaded with salaries, is that good for the union? They lose jobs." On the talks: "Judging from the way I understand Bob Goodenow behaves in the negotiations, I'm surprised Bobby Clarke hasn't gone over the table and kicked Goodenow's rear end" (Jeff Jacobs, HARTFORD COURANT, 12/14). Nordiques Owner Marcel Aubut predicts a deal will get done: "It is just a feeling. I feel comfortable in saying that the rationale of intelligent men will save the day" (CP/GLOBE & MAIL, 12/14). THE "I" IS WATCHING: In Boston, Joe Gordon examines the possible consequences of an NHL cancellation for the upstart IHL. Agent Steve Freyer: "It wouldn't surprise me, if the NHL season is dead, to see the IHL make a very aggressive move. The numbers of players they could sign this year would be limited, but I would think they might sign players now for next season." Bruins GM Harry Sinden: "If the players want to go to the IHL and play, they're going to have to do it for 10 percent of what they're making now, and in our proposal we've guaranteed that the current salary level won't drop" (BOSTON HERALD, 12/14). For more on the IHL.