SBD/Issue 91/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NHL Face-Off, Day 139: Day Of Reckoning? Sides To Meet Today

The NHL sent a memo to all 30 clubs “outlining concepts it plans to take into the next set of negotiations,” which are slated for this week, according to a report by TSN’s Brian Burke, formerly President & GM of the Canucks, cited by the TORONTO STAR’s Mark Zwolinksi. Burke said that the NHL “will discuss a luxury tax” and profit-sharing that would see the league and union “split money 50-50 after the league reached a certain profit threshold.” Burke believes a labor deal would be for six years. Zwolinksi writes it is “almost certain” that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow will return to the talks when they resume (TORONTO STAR, 2/1). In N.Y., Sherry Ross reports the NHL is expected to make a proposal to the union today. The two sides “are likely to convene electronically, via phone or video conference.” The proposal will include a salary cap with a minimum of $32M and a ceiling of $42M, but an individual salary cap of $6M “is not expected to be part of the package.” Ross reports profit-sharing, but not a luxury tax, is expected to be part of the proposal. The 24% salary rollback offered by the players “is also believed to be part of the proposal” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/1).

THERE’S ALWAYS TOMORROW? In L.A., Foster & Elliott cite a league source saying the two sides will meet Thursday. NHL Exec VP & CLO Bill Daly: “If we get to the point where it’s clear that there is no reasonable chance that games can be played this season, my guess is that there will be an appropriate announcement made by the league” (L.A. TIMES, 2/1). More Daly: “I’m somewhat surprised that I haven’t heard from the [NHLPA on Monday]. We broke up on Thursday and agreed to keep the lines of communication open.” But NHLPA Senior Dir of Business Affairs Ted Saskin responded in a statement: “Bill knows the concepts they discussed with us on Thursday would not form the basis for an agreement, so he should not be surprised that he hasn’t heard from us. We were very clear ... that we would not be negotiating over his proposed concepts” (CP, 2/1).

REAX: Penguins Owner & C Mario Lemieux said of a potential resolution, “I think there’s a good chance, if everybody realizes that there’s a deal to be made. Gary Bettman and Goodenow have to get in a room. ... If there’s going to be a deal made, they’re the ones who have to make it happen” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 2/1). Flyers C Jeremy Roenick said, “The players need to give back what I think has gotten out of hand, in terms of salaries. ... Our game is popular, but not popular enough to control $8-, $9- or $10[M] salaries.” Roenick added, “The owners maybe have to be open to the idea of revenue sharing. They want to have a partnership with the players. They need to have a partnership with themselves” (ESPN.com, 1/31). Flames D Andrew

Rogge To Leave ’06 Olympic Hockey
Decision Up To IIHF
Ference, on the notion that players would vote to accept a salary cap in a secret ballot: “I see those numbers that half the guys would vote for a cap and I don’t believe that, not for a moment” (CALGARY SUN, 2/1).

OLYMPICS: IOC President Jacques Rogge indicated that he is leaving the decision of whether NHLers compete in the ’06 Turin Games to IIHF President Rene Fasel, who said that he will “leave it open as long as possible to make sure the best players in the world can compete in Turin.” Fasel: “There’s no deadline. The national federations want to keep their position very loose and we’ll see what happens in the future.” The CP’s Bill Beacon writes if the lockout is not settled by next February, NHL players “would be able to play in the Games as long as the national federations could afford the expensive costs of insuring them” (CP, 2/1).

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