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Volume 24 No. 115
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     "The art of compromise takes on a sense of urgency" today
when NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Exec Dir Bob
Goodenow resume talks in Toronto on a new Collective Bargaining
Agreement (Alan Adams, CANADIAN PRESS/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL,
9/26).  Bettman's negotiating team will be in Toronto through
Wednesday.  NHL Public Relations VP Arthur Pincus said the league
has "no plans" to formally cancel games as of yet: "We'll be
evaluating things day to day, but at some point a decision will
have to be made about Saturday's games" (Lance Hornby, TORONTO
SUN, 9/26).
     JUST IN CASE:  NHL teams have booked their arenas for dates
at least through the end of June in order to allow for a full
regular-season schedule, followed by a full playoff. NHL teams
reportedly plan to play the entire 84-game schedule by
rescheduling postponed games at the end of the season (Larry
Brooks, N.Y. POST, 9/24).
     WHERE WERE THEY IN JUNE?  In New Jersey, Devils captain
Scott Stevens "expressed disappointment" that there had been no
negotiations between March and August: "We should have started
long ago.  There are so many time restrictions and now we face
this time restriction.  Both sides have to take the blame for
that."  But Bettman said his requests to meet with Goodenow over
the summer were "rebuffed repeatedly": "I don't want to dwell on
it because we are talking now, but there were numerous occasions
we asked to meet and were turned down" (Larry Brooks, N.Y. POST,
Exec Dir Bob Goodenow met with Blues players on Saturday and
updated them on the negotiations.  Goodenow: "There's a lot of
work left on both sides of the table.  We'll try to reach an
amicable solution in the appropriate time frame" (ST. LOUIS POST-
DISPATCH, 9/25).
     VANCOUVER SUPPORTS OWNERS:  Last week, the Vancouver
PROVINCE conducted an unscientific poll in which 261 respondents
were asked: "Do you support the players in their salary fight
with NHL team owners?"  The response was "resounding":  90% No.
Kent Gilchrist advises the poll "not be dismissed out of hand" by
the players (PROVINCE, 9/26).
     ARE PLAYERS READY TO DIG IN?  In Washington, Capitals Player
Rep Don Beaupre: "Right now we're prepared for a three-, four-,
five-month lockout"  (Mark Asher, WASHINGTON POST, 9/24).  But in
Tampa Bay, Lightning Player Rep Danton Cole said he "wasn't sure"
how strong the union is: "We're strong like a family, but I don't
think anyone can say for sure how long either side could hold
out" (Tom Jones, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/24).  Mighty Ducks Player Rep
Bob Corkum called Bettman a "hired gun":  "He definitely came
here to get a salary cap and he's not going to fold up easily"
     COLUMNISTS VOICE OFF:  In Toronto, Jim Hunt writes that
Bettman "has done his damndest to provoke the players," and if a
lockout occurs, "it's Bettman who will have blood on his hands"
(TORONTO SUN, 9/26).  In Boston, Kevin Dupont writes, "Try to
remember what the players have forgotten: It's Bettman's side
that owns the show. ... Hockey players have no choice now but to
accept what's before them" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/25).  In
Philadelphia, Bill Lyons writes, "There is a decidedly mean edge
to the way the league has operated recently.  It seems to be
bristling for a fight" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/24).  In
Washington, Dave Fay writes, "The players don't trust Bettman
because he is an outsider and not a hockey man.  Put Wayne
Gretzky on one side of the table and Boston GM Harry Sinden on
the other and this thing might be settled in 15 minutes.  Half an
hour, tops" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/25).  In Tampa Bay, Roy Cummings
advises hockey fans to "aim your angst" at Goodenow.  While a
possible lockout is one week away, "Goodenow sits, like Nero amid
Rome's burning embers.  He may negotiate, he may not, but
apparently only when it's convenient for him" (TAMPA TRIBUNE,
     COMEDIANS AGAINST THE CAP:  At the end of the season premier
of "Saturday Night Live," Mike Myers was front-and-center showing
off his "NHLPA" sweatshirt (NBC, 9/24).