HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 31: ACCOUNTING FOR DIFFERENCES
NHL Senior VP & General Counsel Jeffrey Pash said that the
league's "revised accounting practices" should satisfy the
union's concerns that the owners will hide revenues in any
financial reports the NHL provides (CANADIAN PRESS/ VANCOUVER
SUN, 10/31). Last week, the league and union traded faxes on a
proposal to begin play under the owners' system while the union
audits the league's finances. NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow's
response: "To be candid, we are skeptical of the quality of
information you might provide" (Len Hochberg, WASHINGTON POST,
10/29). "The catch, as far as the union was concerned, was that,
if the audit supported the NHL's claim that it lost $32 million
in 1992-93 and that 13 teams were operating in the red, the
players would have to abide by the terms of that last proposal.
That would be admitting that the league was right all along"
(Gary Miles, PHILA. INQUIRER, 10/30). The NHL proposed if the
audit did not support their claim of growing losses, their
taxation plan would be removed (Larry Brooks, N.Y. POST, 10/29).
THE EVER-SHORTENING SCHEDULE: The league is set to pare its
schedule again today, and NHL Dir of Hockey Ops Brian Burke said,
"If it is up to me, the number will be in double digits"
(CANADIAN PRESS/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/29).
IS A ROOKIE CAP THE KEY? "There is growing support for the
theory that by giving in on the rookie salary cap issue, the
NHLPA could bring a quick end to the work stoppage," writes Roy
Cummings in the TAMPA TRIBUNE. One league source said the NHL
was prepared to resume play if the union accepted its proposal
for a rookie cap. But, when presented with the idea, Goodenow
reportedly responded, "If that's what you came to talk about then
we're wasting our time here." One NHL player: "I'd say 90
percent of the players would agree to it" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 10/30).
In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont sees "indications" both sides "might
be able to come to terms" on a rookie cap/floor (BOSTON GLOBE,
10/30). ALMOST A HEALTH CARE CRISIS: "The NHL has decided to
stop paying health insurance costs for locked-out players and
their families, saying it is following U.S. federal law by giving
players 60-day notice that they can keep their coverage only if
they pay the entire cost themselves." The union charges the
league with "slow notification" claiming it found out only after
Anaheim's Tom Kurvers and his 7 1/2-month pregnant wife were
involved in an auto accident. Kurvers: "I found out at the
hospital. ... I was a little bit surprised." But NHL VP of
Public Relations Arthur Pincus said "no player has been left
without coverage." Goodenow: "They sent notices by regular mail
and they didn't call us" (Norwood & Dillman, L.A. TIMES, 10/29).
The union started picking up insurance costs as soon as it found
out about the lapse (Dave Fay, WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/31).
PLAYERS' LEAGUES: In New York, Mark Everson sees the
union's ability to stage exhibition games as a positive sign for
a players' league: "The owners may have started the sequence
that puts themselves out of business" (N.Y. POST, 10/31). "The
bet is" that IMG will sponsor Wayne Gretzky's tour of Europe
(Kevin Paul Dupont, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/30).
SOLIDARITY WATCH: In St. Louis, Dave Luecking reports that
Blues President Jack Quinn met with some of the Blues' stars and
other team officials met with some of their players to "work on
them." But, "the owners' effort has had no impact" (ST. LOUIS
POST-DISPATCH, 10/29). ESPN's Linda Cohn: "On the subject of
possible cracks in the union, Wayne Gretzky said he can guarantee
25 of the top guys would not cross and would stay unified"
SEEING STARS: The Stars fired 13 of their 55 full-time
employees yesterday, mostly from the sales and community
relations departments. Stars President Jim Lites said some might
be rehired, but they would be evaluated on a "case-by-case
basis." Stars VP of Advertising & Promotions Jeff Cogen: "I can
tell you this, there are very quality people out there in the
marketplace looking for jobs today" (Mike Heika, FORT WORTH STAR-