HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 61: BACK AT IT TOMORROW
NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow said yesterday that negotiations
will resume tomorrow. Asked what to expect, Goodenow told the
N.Y. POST: "We haven't set any final offers or drawn any lines
in the sand. ... We reviewed the whole range of issues and
further refined the players' opinions and feelings on them. We
didn't really come up with any decisions" (Mark Everson, N.Y.
POST, 11/30). The talks will reportedly be held in Chicago.
Bruins President & GM Harry Sinden, who will attend the meetings,
said he was told to keep Thursday, Friday and the weekend
available (Nancy Marrapese, BOSTON GLOBE, 11/30).
DISSENSION OR SMOKESCREEN? Goodenow "is drawing fire from
his constituents and agents who claim he's already given away the
farm. But the attacks on Goodenow may actually be a smokescreen
as the union prepares to deliver its counter-proposal to the
owners when negotiations resume tomorrow." Blackhawk Jeremy
Roenick told the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: "I hope people realize how
much the players have given up to get hockey back on the ice.
Many of the players -- I'd say 99% -- feel we've given up too
much already and we're not going to give up any more." One
"prominent" agent said he believes Goodenow has "messed up." And
a player rep from the Central Division added: "The boys are
really pissed off at Goodenow. They figure he's given up too
much." But Maple Leafs President & GM Cliff Fletcher warns
against taking the rhetoric too seriously: "There's so much spin
going on ... from both sides" (Dave Fuller, TORONTO SUN, 11/30).
Citing the rookie cap, Canuck Jeff Brown said there is
"absolutely nothing more" the union can offer: "I know for a
fact a lot of guys are pissed with what we've already given up"
(Elliott Pap, VANCOUVER SUN, 11/30).
STANDIN' BY THEIR MAN: MSG President Dave Checketts said
the players are "mistaken" if they believe that large-market
teams such as the Rangers will pressure the league to make a
deal: "We stand behind Gary Bettman. We've come this far, we
have to make sure we find a responsible solution to the problems
we face as a league. ... The league's view is my view as well"
(N.Y. POST, 11/30).
WILL THE TAX RETURN? One union official said it was
"accurate" to say that the return of the owners' luxury tax would
be a deal-breaker. But the official added: "Unless they
surprised us and come back with a tax that was like 25 percent,
something that was negotiable" (Dave Fay, WASHINGTON TIMES,
11/30). Blues Player Rep Guy Carbonneau said he believes the
owners' luxury tax may be a "bluff" (Dave Fulller, TORONTO SUN,
TEAM GRETZKY: Wayne Gretzky's all-stars kick off their tour
tomorrow with a game against the IHL Vipers at The Palace at
Auburn Hills outside Detroit. The European opener in Helsinki on
Saturday will be seen on CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" -- with
sponsorship by Molson -- kicking off "what amounts to the first
NHL marketing gambit in Europe. The irony is that the league
wants no part of the six-game tour and is doing most everything
it can to kibosh the affair, even though two games are on ESPN"
(Tony Gallagher, Vancouver PROVINCE, 11/30). NHL VP of Public
Relations Arthur Pincus denied that anyone at the league tried to
stop the tour (Kevin Allen, USA TODAY, 11/30).