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Volume 24 No. 154
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     The NHL Board of Governors voted unanimously to reject the
latest offer from the NHLPA, but directed NHL Commissioner Gary
Bettman and the negotiating committee to continue the collective
bargaining process.  In addition, Bettman was given the authority
to cancel the season if no CBA is reached in time to play a 50-
game regular season and Stanley Cup playoffs by July 1 (NHL).
Bettman:  "This is not about a league fighting with the union.
This is about a league fighting for its future" (Mult., 12/13).
     REAX:  Bruins GM & President Harry Sinden:  "You don't get
26 owners to shut down a business if it's healthy" (Nancy
Marrapese, BOSTON GLOBE, 12/13).  Oilers Owner Peter Pocklington:
"Baseball had a drop-dead date, and look what happened.  It
dropped dead" (Mult., 12/13).  Lightning GM Phil Esposito, on a
"drop-dead date":  "There's no reason for it.  Sooner or later,
the day will come when we can't go any further, and that decision
will be made by Mr. Bettman" (Roy Cummings, TAMPA TRIBUNE,
12/13).  "It's almost certain there will be no season unless
either the players or owners are prepared to make a 180-degree
turn.  Yesterday, neither side seemed interested in compromise"
(Fuller & Hornby, TORONTO SUN, 12/13).  "If the season is indeed
cancelled, the blood will be on the gloves of Gary Bettman" (Gare
Joyce, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 12/13).  "There is no Dove owner
willing enough or powerful enough to pull the switch that will
allow either side to gracefully avoid a collision of potentially
thunderous and long-ranging impact" (Kent Gilchrist, Vancouver
PROVINCE, 12/13).  NHL Senior VP & Dir of Hockey Ops Brian Burke:
"The owners are the ones who will cancel the season, but the
players are the one who won't agree to a deal that makes sense"
(Mark Everson, N.Y. POST, 12/13).  "If 50 is really the minimum
number of games required for an NHL season to happen, then lots
of time still remain to cut a deal -- maybe more than two weeks"
(Damien Cox, TORONTO STAR, 12/13).  ESPN's Al Morganti:  "It
could very well be that this is just another phase in the
posturing by either side in these negotiations.  But if they are
playing a game of chicken, they are getting dangerously close to
the deadline" ("SportsCenter," 12/12)
     NEXT SESSION:  Talks could begin again tomorrow, possibly in
New York (Joe Gordon, BOSTON HERALD, 12/13).