SBD/10/Leagues Governing Bodies

HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 102: ARE THEY HEADED TO O.T.?

     NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow
and top lieutenants on both sides met for over twelve hours
yesterday in a Manhattan hotel in an attempt to hammer out a deal
to save the season.  Both sides are facing the league-imposed
deadline of noon today.
     THE LAUNDRY LIST:  The CANADIAN PRESS reports that, as of
Midnight EST, agreements had been reached on salary arbitration,
the rookie salary cap and the ground-rules for reopening the
deal.  Still to be resolved, the age a player can be an
unrestricted free agent -- the owners want 32, the players 30 --
and the age at which a  player can be drafted -- the owners want
20, the players 19 (Alan Adams, CP/VANCOUVER SUN, 1/10).  In
L.A., Helene Elliott reports the union had won concessions from
the NHL on reopening, the number of times a team can "walk away"
from an arbitration decision and on the rookie cap (L.A. TIMES,
1/10).  There were reports that management was "reconsidering
some of its concessions as the talks carried on into the morning
hours" (Tim Campbell, WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 1/10).  The AP reports
that Bettman pulled back on some issues in an attempt to get the
union to move on free agency.  NHL General Counsel Jeff Pash
reportedly began calling player agents "asking them to apply
pressure on Goodenow to get things back on track" (Mike Nadel,
AP, 1/10).  On unrestricted free agency, the two sides "were
working on a formula that would bring years of service into the
equation, thus allowing veteran NHLers to gain unrestricted free
agency before age 32."  According to Lance Hornby of the TORONTO
SUN, the question of pay for this season "a thorny issue that
could prod Bettman to extend today's deadline" (TORONTO SUN,
1/10).  In Chicago, Brian Hanley notes the possibility that
Goodenow was holding out on retroactive pay to secure some type
of playoff compensation (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/10).  Asked whether
the owners would swap two years of free agency for two years in
the draft, one NHL Governor said:  "That was spoken about.  I
don't think we will."  In New York, Mark Everson reports the
owners would appear to be open to free agency at 31 if the
players agree to a 20-year-old draft (N.Y. POST, 1/10).     THE
DEADLINE:  In the 6pm EST "SportsCenter," ESPN hockey analyst Al
Morganti said of today's noon deadline:  "I do not think this
line can be extended, this is a hard deadline.  This is not a
line in the sand, this line is in cement."  But on the 11:30pm
EST edition, Morganti reconsidered:  "Maybe it's wet cement.
Obviously if they've got this thing going and it comes to noon,
they can push it an hour or two to see if they can get the whole
thing done" ("SportsCenter," 1/9).  In Vancouver, Mike Beamish
compares the NHL's deadlines to a local bus:  "Miss it and
there'll be another along in 15 minutes" (VANCOUVER SUN, 1/10).
     WINNERS AND LOSERS:  In Boston, Stephen Harris calls the
prospective deal an "overwhelming victory for ownership" (BOSTON
HERALD, 1/10).  Kevin Paul Dupont writes, "In effect, the players
agreed to trade the prospect of a cap for a financial
straitjacket" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/10).  In Vancouver, Kent Gilchrist
writes the owners "now have utter and complete control of their
player costs for the next five years.  Assuming there is no long-
term negative effect at the turnstiles by the fans, the moon
isn't too far away to consider what the revenue growth might be
for the owners" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 1/10).  In New York, Mike
Lupica quotes one unnamed Ranger player who broke his stick over
a locker after a skating session:  "Why don't we admit what we
all know?  We got our butts kicked."  Lupica writes that Goodenow
"was out of his weight class and never seemed to have much of a
plan, except to wait. ... To suggest that Goodenow has somehow
gotten the best of Gary Bettman is to ignore the facts.  Goodenow
looks like a general left standing when his whole platoon is
gone" (NEWSDAY, 1/10).  Flyers Owner Ed Snider on Bettman:  "He
has managed through all of this chaos to maintain and keep the
utmost respect of all 26 owners.  I find it remarkable.  He's a
great leader" (Gary Miles, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/10).  Still,
Jim Proudfoot writes that Saturday's Board of Governors vote
identified the "dissidents" among the ownership.  "That indicates
how deep the rift really is and what a delicate balancing act
awaits" Bettman (TORONTO STAR, 1/10).
     DOOMSDAY SCENARIOS:  Montreal, Chicago, Boston and Detroit
are all said to favor the implementation of a salary cap if the
season is cancelled (Jeff Jacobs, HARTFORD COURANT, 1/10).
Attorneys have told Bettman that the NHL "would be legally
entitled" to implement a salary cap (Damien Cox, TORONTO STAR,
1/10).  In the event of no season, the NHLPA has a plan for a
nine- or 10-team players league and a 30-game season.  CTV would
broadcast and there are corporate sponsors willing to finance the
teams for $1M apiece (David Shoalts, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/10).
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