"The fate of struggling franchises in Winnipeg and Quebec
City remains in doubt today after the federal government signaled
it's not prepared to sign a blank cheque to keep teams from
moving to the United States," according to Mark Kennedy & Ken
Warren in today's OTTAWA CITIZEN.  Human Resources Minister Lloyd
Axworthy and Finance Minister Paul Martin met with NHL
Commissioner Gary Bettman, Jets Owner Barry Shenkarow and
Nordiques Owner Marcel Aubut.  Axworthy emerged from the meeting
citing a "hard dose of reality" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 5/3).  The
meeting provided "no magical solution" for the Jets and
Nordiques, according to the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL.  "There is no
standing federal offer to save pro franchises for the sake of
pride in the national game" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/3).
     ANTI-AMERICANISM:  ESPN's Al Morganti noted that Winnipeg
fans booed the U.S. National Anthem last night, saying that they
view the Jets' situation as "a Canada-U.S. thing rather than a
small market-large market thing."  Asked what can be done for the
smaller markets, Morganti cited the necessity for some form of
revenue sharing.  But he added, "Thus far, the owners haven't put
their heads together to get this done, and I think at some point
Gary Bettman's going to have to bang those heads together or just
give up everything on the small markets" ("National Hockey
Night," ESPN, 5/2).  In a speech before the annual Canadian Press
meeting in Toronto, Bettman acknowledged the NHL will be a
"scapegoat" if the Jets and Nords move, but he defended the need
for team "stability."  Bettman:  "This is not an attempt to take
the game away from Canada, but to make the game as strong as
possible."  Bettman was hopeful Canadian losses would end with
the two teams (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/3).  Jets GM John Paddock,
asked about the small-market/large-market issue during last
night's game:  "If we can't remain competitive, we shouldn't be
here" ("National Hockey Night," ESPN, 5/2).       THE WORD FROM
QUEBEC:  In Montreal, columnist Don MacPherson writes, "Here in
Quebec, with a possible referendum looming, it's considered only
a question of time until the Parizeau government announces that
it will spend public funds to help the Nordiques wipe out their
debt, build a bigger arena with luxury boxes, or both."  But
MacPherson considers any assistance for the Expos "a waste of
public funds" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 5/3).  The Expos drew 46,515 for
their home opener last night (GLOBE & MAIL, 5/3).
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