RHETORIC TURNS UGLY AS NHL LOCKOUT ANNOUNCEMENT NEARS
NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow yesterday rejected a revisedproposal submitted Tuesday by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.Goodenow said the same problems that existed in previousproposals remain. With no formal negotiations scheduled today orin the near future, "apparently all that remains" is for Bettmanto officially postpone the start of the season. Bettman willbrief owners on the talks today and, "barring a major miracle,"will announce Friday that the season will be postponed. Bettmansaid he "was not surprised" by Goodenow's decision not tocontinue talking: "They said they would let us know when we areready to meet a gain and they have not suggested a meeting orrequested one." Goodenow "did not hold out any hope" of aupcoming resolution (John MacKinnon, OTTAWA CITIZEN, 9/29). MAJOR MISCONDUCT FROM CHELIOS: The dispute "turned ugly"yesterday when the Blackhawks' Chris Chelios warned Bettman that"his life could be in danger if he locks out players" (DaveFuller, TORONTO SUN, 9/29). Besides the threat, Chelios said theproblem with the negotiations is that Bettman "doesn't knowanything about hockey": "I don't know whether it's this littleman syndrome or what. He's the problem" ("SportsCenter," ESPN,9/29). Chelios' criticisms were one of many made by otherplayers "lining up to take pokes" at Bettman. The Nordiques' JoeSakic said Bettman "knows nothing about hockey and doesn't carewhether there is hockey or not" (TORONTO SUN, 9/29). The Bruins'Cam Neely: "They're not shooting themselves in the foot. They'reshooting themselves in the head, if you ask me" ("SportsCenter,"ESPN, 9/28). The NHL could issue a $500 fine against Chelios(TORONTO SUN, 9/29). The Sharks' Vlastimil Kroupa said Bettman'sproposal "reminds me a lot of those days in the Soviet Union whenI played for the Russian national team" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS,9/29). SUPPORT FOR BETTMAN WANING? In Toronto, Dave Fuller reportsthat NHL sources claim that while Bettman has the public supportof the 26 teams, a "handful of wealthier clubs -- including St.Louis and Chicago -- don't like what's going on" (TORONTO SUN,9/29). But in Vancouver, Frank Luba reports that the Canuckswill not lose a profitable cash flow due to the upcomingpostponement of the season. "No games means no salaries or rent."Canucks owner Arthur Griffiths contends that despite reaching theStanley Cup finals last season, the club "still managed to makeless than the average player makes": "It's appropriate to take ahard position at this point" (VANCOUVER PROVINCE, 9/29). LEAGUE WAVES OFF WAIVER DRAFT: The league yesterdayannounced the postponing of the waiver draft. According toleague rules, the draft will be held within seven days of thestart of the regular season (Mult, 9/29). IHL, HERE THEY COME? IHL PR Dir Tim Bryant told THE SPORTSBUSINESS DAILY that non-affiliated IHL teams may sign some NHLplayers: "We want nothing more than for the NHL to start itsseason. And we realize it [signing players] is a short-termthing. But some teams may" (THE DAILY). NHLPA spokespersonSteve McAllister concurred. But Capitals GM Dave Poile saidplayers "will not be allowed" to play in the IHL: "The playersare all under contract, whether the season opens or not" (SandraMcKee, Baltimore SUN, 9/29).