NHL LOCKOUT LOOMS IF TALKS SHOULD FALTER THIS WEEK
The key in today's round of NHL collective bargaining will
be "how long the owners and union stay at the table and whether
they're still talking" by tomorrow. If nothing positive emerges
today, there is "little hope" of avoiding a labor dispute (Hornby
& Morrison, TORONTO SUN, 9/20). A source close to the
negotiations told the WINNIPEG FREE PRESS that a lockout will
occur later this week: "If there isn't an agreement this week,
there won't be a season, unless of course the owners ultimately
decide to try replacement players." The source "made it clear"
that a lockout would be lengthy: "For the first time in history,
the owners are in complete agreement." The source added: "The
players had better come up with something quick because at this
stage, they aren't in any position to flex their muscles"
(WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 9/19).
HOW ABOUT THAT ROOKIE CAP? The FREE PRESS source indicated
that the owners "might be willing to discuss" a rookie salary cap
(WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 9/19). But NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow met
yesterday with Kings and Might Ducks players in an attempt to
convince them that a rookie cap is "unacceptable." Goodenow: "I
think the notion of a rookie salary cap is not, contrary to some
reports, something the players are going to accept." Goodenow
was responding to weekend reports that some players -- most
notably Patrick Roy of the Canadiens and Kelly Buchberger of the
Oilers -- would be willing to compromise on a rookie cap. Roy:
"The way I see it, that might save the small-market teams"
(CANADIAN PRESS/VANCOUVER SUN, 9/20).