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Volume 24 No. 117
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     The chances of NHL players participating in the '98 Nagano
Games "improved this week," as the NHL and NHLPA are engaged in
"high level talks," according to this morning's GLOBE & MAIL.
Optimism also comes from an official of the Int'l Ice Hockey
Federation.  IIHF VP Rickard Fagerlund said, to his knowledge,
the NHL has agreed to shut down for 16 days in '98 to accommodate
the Olympics.  The NHLPA wants players to have four days between
arrival in Japan and their first day of competition, as well as a
recovery period after the Games (Alan Adams, Toronto GLOBE &
MAIL, 9/21).  USA Hockey President Walter Bush echoed the IIHF's
optimism.  Bush:  "I think it will happen.  I think everyone
realizes it's a win-win-win situation."  A proposal for NHL
participation must be presented at the IIHF meetings next week in
Budapest (USA TODAY, 9/21).