The state of the NHL is examined by Kevin Paul DuPont
of the BOSTON GLOBE in his "On Hockey" column. DuPont:
"Isn't this what we wanted all along, hockey imitating the
rest of the world, everybody talking money, really obscene
money, players sitting out all over the place because their
piece of the apple pie isn't oozing with more millions than
they can spend in a lifetime? Well, it's here, folks, and
it's only getting worse. By the hour." DuPont chronicles
Paul Kariya's holdout from the Mighty Ducks, the offseason
contract for the Avalanches' Joe Sakic and the impending
free agency for some of the game's top players. DuPont:
"Ultimately, there is only one measure of the market, and
that's if the fans continue to pay the ticket prices that
support these salaries" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/30).
IN THE HUB: Using the Bruins as an example, DuPont
notes that through four games, the team has averaged 13,635
at the FleetCenter, a "shortfall" of capacity by 20%. But
"more disturbing ... is the no-show factor in the lower
bowl." While Boston "has had among the most fertile fan
bases in the NHL ... those days are gone, and those empty
seats tell us they're gone for good. There is no chance of
ticket prices falling. None. Not here. Not anywhere. Not
when the likes of Kariya can't be satisfied with $7 million.
Not when it will take $10 million or better to bring in
[Eric] Lindros next time. The players fault? Management's
fault? The blame game is pointless. It's reality that
counts, and empty seats equal reality. When Boston is
working with a 20 percent vacancy factor, that should send a
clear, undeniable message to everyone in the equation --
management, agents, and [NHLPA] -- that the guy on the
street just can't pay it anymore" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/30).
Violet Palmer and Dee Kantner, the NBA's newly named
women officials, met the press yesterday and discussed their
appointment as the "first two women referees hired to
officiate in a major American professional sports league,"
according to Greg Logan of NEWSDAY. Logan: "But what people
really want to know is how they will handle questions of
sexual harassment in the workplace. Specifically, what
happens when an NBA player pats one of them on the butt
during a game?" Kantner: "If it's in the context of an
athlete patting you on the butt, this is not something we
would misinterpret. If the actions are condescending, I
think Violet and I will handle that and disseminate it."
Logan: "Both women indicated their surprise at the attention
their hiring has received, but the NBA has minimized the
possibility of a circus atmosphere." Yesterday's interview
was the only one the two will give all season (NEWSDAY,
10/30). Kantner called reports of sexism and criticism by
current players "sensationalism" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/30).
MORE TROUBLE? In L.A., Mark Heisler wrote that "as
many" as 15 NBA referees "are said to be at risk" in the
IRS' continuing investigation of officials. NBA Deputy
Commissioner Russ Granik: "We don't know. I am told other
indictments are possible." Heisler added that "many" refs
"are waiting uneasily." One veteran official said he has
"spent more than $50,000 in legal fees" (L.A. TIMES, 10/29).
EASY DAVE, NO, THE OTHER ONE: On the "Late Show," David
Letterman offered his Top Ten Complaints Of The New Female
NBA referees: 10) Have to share the ladies' room with
Dennis Rodman; 9) The new referee uniforms look
conspicuously like Hooters outfits; 8) Always go home
smelling like Ben-Gay; 7) Players so obsessed with sports
that they never want to just talk; 6) That "Lil' Penny"
guy always trying to look up your skirt; 5) Keep getting
faint and nauseous from Michael Jordan's cologne; 4)
Players keep asking if they can watch you inflate the ball;
3) Whenever you call a foul, they try to get out of it by
saying your hair looks pretty; 2) Husbands who keep beating
the 24 second clock; 1) Them dudes is sweaty (CBS, 10/29).
CHUCKIE'S BACK: Charles Barkley is quoted in today's
HOUSTON CHRONICLE as saying that he is "leaning toward
retirement" after fallout from Sunday's arrest in Orlando,
FL. Barkley: "If the league is not going to stand by me,
then I'll say, 'Thank you very much,' and move on." Barkley
said that the league wants to interview him to "begin its
investigation of the matter" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/30).
MLB: MLB playoff money distribution was examined by
Larry Lebowitz of the Fort Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL. MLB
players receive 60% of the net receipts for Games One
through Four of LCS and World Series, and 80% of the first
three Division Series games. Therefore, MLB owners, the
commissioner's office and the league "profit more when the
postseason series stretch out." Of MLB's $2,806,700 in net
receipts announced from the Indians-Marlins Game Seven, the
commissioner's office received $421,005, while the AL & NL
offices and both clubs each got $596,424. For the seven
game World Series, the player pool received "more than"
$6.2M of the $18.39M in net receipts. The commissioner's
office received $2.75M, while the league offices and the
teams got $2.35M apiece (SUN-SENTINEL, 10/28).
SOCCER: Last night at Indiana Univ., 9,776 attended the
Dallas Burn-D.C. United U.S. Open Cup Final (U.S. Soccer).