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NHL fans likely out of puck as lockout appears certain

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  • GarysLists@aol.com
    By Tim Panaccio Toronto - When Canada and Finland play Tuesday night for the World Cup of Hockey championship, it could be the last time a puck is dropped
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 13, 2004
      By Tim Panaccio

      Toronto - When Canada and Finland play Tuesday night for the World Cup of
      Hockey championship, it could be the last time a puck is dropped this fall.

      On Wednesday, the NHL's Board of Governors is expected to authorize a
      lockout under commissioner Gary Bettman.

      The current collective-bargaining agreement expires that day. Talks aimed
      at a new accord have been stalled for nearly a year over management's
      insistence on a salary cap.

      Assuming there is a lockout, training camps won't open as scheduled
      Thursday. The consensus among owners, general managers, agents, etc., is that the
      league will shut down for a year.

      Bettman hasn't moved off a $31 million hard cap. Bob Goodenow, executive
      director of the NHL Players' Association, has said there will "never" be a
      salary cap under his stewardship.

      Last week, the union presented a revised proposal from last October calling
      for a luxury tax that would kick in when club payrolls reach $50 million.
      But Bill Daly, the league's chief counsel and executive vice president, was not
      impressed.

      The last work stoppage, under Bettman in 1994, lasted 100 days.

      The NHL says it lost $273 million in 2002-03, as stated in a report released
      in February. The league also says it lost $224 million last season. It
      says player salaries consume 75 percent of club revenues, and wants that cut to
      50 percent.

      The longer a lockout lasts, the more likely clubs on the fence will start to
      pressure Bettman for a compromise. Likewise, the owners are hoping pressure
      will mount on Goodenow to accept a cap as players miss paychecks.

      Some players are considering going overseas.

      "We have to do something," Florida Panthers left wing Darcy Hordichuk said.



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