SBD/9/Leagues Governing Bodies


     NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Exec Dir Bob
Goodenow did not speak by telephone as expected, but the two
sides did restate their positions via fax.
     DEAR GARY:  Goodenow "urged Bettman to reconsider his stand
on the payroll tax issue and suggested that a new collective
bargaining agreement could be reached without one."  Goodenow
wrote, "Everyone involved in these negotiations over the last few
weeks was aware of the fact that we had made numerous concessions
to create a 'drag' as an alternative to the tax/cap system you
had previously proposed.  It was also understood that these
concessions would not have been made as part of a system
involving a tax on team payrolls" (Steve Buffery, TORONTO SUN,
     MESSAGE TO BOB:  In a letter sent by Bettman and NHL General
Counsel Jeff Pash to NHL Governors and GMs, the league "charged
that in discussions with its membership, the union was 'either
misrepresenting the proposal or does not understand it'" (TORONTO
SUN, 12/9).  Pash also took issue with the union's claim that the
NHL's tax works out to a marginal rate of 81%, writing that the
marginal rate would instead be 61% (Joe Lapointe, N.Y. TIMES,
     TAX TALK:  NHL VP of Public Relations Arthur Pincus "said
too much has been made of the extreme end of the tax structure.
For example, if a club spent $32 million on salaries, it would be
taxed at 25 percent of the total payroll, which Pincus said
'isn't dealing in reality.'"  Pincus:  "Half the teams in the
league don't even have $32 million in revenues.  They're not
going to spend that on salaries" (Nancy Marrapese, BOSTON GLOBE,
12/9).  Comparing the league's tax plan with the union's October
tax proposal of 7%, Roy Cummings of the TAMPA TRIBUNE writes the
"majority of NHL teams paying a payroll tax actually would pay
less in taxes under the league's plan than they would under the
NHLPA plan" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 12/9).  But a report in yesterday's
DALLAS MORNING NEWS indicates that enough progress had been made
on free agency, arbitration and a rookie cap for the two sides to
make a deal.  Stars President Jim Lites:  "The difference between
what the owners are offering and where the union is on these
issues is not significant" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 12/8).  In
Toronto, Scott Morrison writes, "How do you cancel a season when
not enough teams need the tax that is causing all the trouble?"
(TORONTO SUN, 12/9).
     MONDAY'S MEETING:  Bruins President & GM Harry Sinden, on
Monday's NHL Board of Governors meeting in New York:  "I think
the vote will be 100 percent to keep talking.  There is a group
that might want to pull the plug right away, and another that
feels we should take whatever they give us.  Both groups at the
extremities aren't big. ... In my opinion, the board will say (to
Bettman), 'It's not good enough, see if you can keep going and
get to the point where we can accept it'" (Stephen Harris, BOSTON
HERALD, 12/9).
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