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  1. #106
    Eruption vh resurrection's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMJ
    we should just call this the fucked over nhl fan's thread

    HAHAHAHA
    Yep, I have handprints on my ankles from grabbing them so hard. Friggin' a-holes.
    "Ladies and Gentlemen, I'd like to introduce the king of 10 fingers and six strings... Mr. Edward Van Halen!"

  2. #107
    Pope Of Greenwich Village SuckaInA3Piece's Avatar
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    There may still be hope fellas....


    ESPN.com news services

    There is no secret that time is running out to save the hockey season. How the NHL and the players' association are working to prevent that has become a very big mystery.

    Representatives from both sides met for about 5 hours in small groups for the third time in a week on Wednesday. All that is known about the meeting is that it took place somewhere in Toronto. The location was kept secret, and neither side would reveal what was discussed or if any progress was made.

    The only news that came out was that more talks will be held soon.

    "We will meet again this week," NHL chief legal officer Bill Daly said. "We have no further comment at this time."

    ESPN The Magazine E.J. Hradek reports that the meeting will be at an undisclosed location in New York City. It is not known at this time whether commissioner Gary Bettman or NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow will be at the next meeting.

    Daly told The Associated Press on Tuesday that discussions were at a critical stage and that only days remained to reach a deal that would save the season. The fact that more talks have been set up provided at least a glimmer of hope that the NHL won't become the first North American sports league to lose an entire season to a labor dispute.

    The lockout reached its 133rd day Wednesday and has wiped out 713 of the 1,230 regular-season games, plus the 2005 All-Star game.

    The small-group format began last week with the hope that the sides could find common ground that would lead to a new collective bargaining agreement. All three sessions were held without commissioner Gary Bettman and union chief Bob Goodenow.

    During a two-day meeting last week in Chicago and Toronto, the sides tried to get together in secrecy but were unsuccessful. Both parties believe they will have a better chance of getting something accomplished if they can talk out of the public eye.

    "After meeting today, we have agreed to continue discussions and will not be making any further comment at this time," players' association senior director Ted Saskin said.

    Although no details were immediately available, neither side planned to make a new proposal on Wednesday because the participants wanted to generate ideas through an open dialogue instead of working on a formal proposal.

    "I think the setup of these meetings is what's important in terms of the small-group dynamic, the open discussion and dialogue," Daly told the AP on Tuesday night. "It's less formal or structured than the meetings we've had in the past, and I think that's helpful to the process."

    But time is running short to make a deal and save the season.

    "We're in a critical stage, and that means we're down to days," Daly said. "We'll try to move the process forward and try to get a resolution."

    It was Vancouver center Trevor Linden who came up with the idea last week to talk with just six people in the room. Linden, the NHLPA president, invited Harley Hotchkiss -- the chairman of the board of governors.

    The structure was successful in producing discussion, but it did nothing to close the gap in the philosophical differences.

    The NHL still wants cost certainty, a link between player costs and team revenues. The players' association wants a free-market system.

    The same group that met last week gathered again: Linden, Saskin and outside counsel John McCambridge as well as Daly, Hotchkiss -- a part-owner of the Calgary Flames -- and outside counsel Bob Batterman.

    The only change was the addition of New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello, a member of the NHL board of governors, who joined the league side for the meeting.

    No proposals have been made since early December, when the players offered a 24 percent rollback on existing contracts as part of a luxury-tax and revenue-sharing system. The NHL turned that down and made a counterproposal five days later that was rejected in a matter of hours
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  3. #108
    Eruption vh resurrection's Avatar
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    Fox Sports has an article as well containing the following rumors:
    (full article at http://msn.foxsports.com/nhl/story/3354664)
    There have been a few rumors, which you can take for what they're worth.

    It was reported that Mario Lemieux was in Toronto at the same time as the meetings were taking place. Both sides denied Lemieux, the owner and team captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, was there to take part in the talks, and reports claim he is in fact meeting with his friend, Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Tie Domi.

    However, that has led to suggestions both players would be lending their input to the discussions in some manner, Lemieux as an owner and Domi because of his close ties with the NHLPA.

    The Canadian Press reported New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello attended the meeting at the request of the NHLPA, which is curious considering Lamoriello's hard-nosed approach to contract talks over the years hasn't endeared him to some players.

    All that's been confirmed is Wednesday's meeting has ended and there will be further talks later in the week.

    Hey, at least they're still talking.
    I've also heard a rumor that they are on the verge of enough of a deal to get a 36 game season going. The deal would include some sort of salary cap and teams could select a franchise player. Supposedly camp could start as early as next Wednesday and that the season could begin 7-10 days later.

    Hopefully they can make hockey better and have some semblance of a season too!
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  4. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuckaInA3Piece
    There may still be hope fellas....


    ESPN.com news services

    There is no secret that time is running out to save the hockey season. How the NHL and the players' association are working to prevent that has become a very big mystery.

    Representatives from both sides met for about 5 hours in small groups for the third time in a week on Wednesday. All that is known about the meeting is that it took place somewhere in Toronto. The location was kept secret, and neither side would reveal what was discussed or if any progress was made.

    The only news that came out was that more talks will be held soon.

    "We will meet again this week," NHL chief legal officer Bill Daly said. "We have no further comment at this time."

    ESPN The Magazine E.J. Hradek reports that the meeting will be at an undisclosed location in New York City. It is not known at this time whether commissioner Gary Bettman or NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow will be at the next meeting.

    Daly told The Associated Press on Tuesday that discussions were at a critical stage and that only days remained to reach a deal that would save the season. The fact that more talks have been set up provided at least a glimmer of hope that the NHL won't become the first North American sports league to lose an entire season to a labor dispute.

    The lockout reached its 133rd day Wednesday and has wiped out 713 of the 1,230 regular-season games, plus the 2005 All-Star game.

    The small-group format began last week with the hope that the sides could find common ground that would lead to a new collective bargaining agreement. All three sessions were held without commissioner Gary Bettman and union chief Bob Goodenow.

    During a two-day meeting last week in Chicago and Toronto, the sides tried to get together in secrecy but were unsuccessful. Both parties believe they will have a better chance of getting something accomplished if they can talk out of the public eye.

    "After meeting today, we have agreed to continue discussions and will not be making any further comment at this time," players' association senior director Ted Saskin said.

    Although no details were immediately available, neither side planned to make a new proposal on Wednesday because the participants wanted to generate ideas through an open dialogue instead of working on a formal proposal.

    "I think the setup of these meetings is what's important in terms of the small-group dynamic, the open discussion and dialogue," Daly told the AP on Tuesday night. "It's less formal or structured than the meetings we've had in the past, and I think that's helpful to the process."

    But time is running short to make a deal and save the season.

    "We're in a critical stage, and that means we're down to days," Daly said. "We'll try to move the process forward and try to get a resolution."

    It was Vancouver center Trevor Linden who came up with the idea last week to talk with just six people in the room. Linden, the NHLPA president, invited Harley Hotchkiss -- the chairman of the board of governors.

    The structure was successful in producing discussion, but it did nothing to close the gap in the philosophical differences.

    The NHL still wants cost certainty, a link between player costs and team revenues. The players' association wants a free-market system.

    The same group that met last week gathered again: Linden, Saskin and outside counsel John McCambridge as well as Daly, Hotchkiss -- a part-owner of the Calgary Flames -- and outside counsel Bob Batterman.

    The only change was the addition of New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello, a member of the NHL board of governors, who joined the league side for the meeting.

    No proposals have been made since early December, when the players offered a 24 percent rollback on existing contracts as part of a luxury-tax and revenue-sharing system. The NHL turned that down and made a counterproposal five days later that was rejected in a matter of hours

    sounds like van halen...LMAO

  5. #110
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    NEW YORK (AP) -- Four meetings, three cities, and no deals. That sums up the past week in the NHL lockout.

    Talks between the NHL and the players' association broke down again Thursday night, leaving the sides still far apart and with no plans to meet again.

    ``We continue to have significant philosophical differences,'' NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin said Thursday night. ``No meetings are scheduled and we will not make further comment at this time.''

    With the season on the brink of being canceled, negotiations resumed late Thursday afternoon in New York. For the second straight day, both sides were tightlipped about what was discussed or accomplished.

    ``We're going to continue to keep quiet on the status and substance of negotiations,'' NHL chief legal officer Bill Daly told The Associated Press in an e-mail following the meeting.

    Seven representatives from the league and the union met for five hours at an undisclosed location following a 5 1/2 -hour get-together a day earlier in Toronto. The small group format began last week when the sides sat down on consecutive days in Chicago and Toronto.

    There was talk earlier in the day that the sides had left open the possibility of getting together again on Friday, but Daly told the AP that would not happen.

    Taking commissioner Gary Bettman and union chief Bob Goodenow out of the negotiating mix for this period has apparently done nothing to soften either side.

    The lockout reached its 134th day Thursday and has forced the cancellation of 721 of the 1,230 regular-season games plus the All-Star game. If an agreement isn't reached soon, the NHL will likely become the first North American sports league to lose an entire season to a labor dispute.

    For the second time this week, rumors swirled that the NHL was prepared to make another proposal to the players' association. Daly declined comment Thursday afternoon.

    No offers have been revealed since mid-December when the union invited the league back to negotiations with a proposal that featured a 24 percent rollback of all existing contracts and a luxury-tax system.

    The league countered five days later with a salary-cap structure, a concept the NHL is insisting on and one the players' association says it will never accept. The NHL wants a direct link between player salaries and league revenues.

    It was Vancouver center Trevor Linden who came up with the idea last week to talk with just six people in the room. Linden, the NHLPA president, invited Harley Hotchkiss -- the chairman of the board of governors to talks that started last Wednesday in Chicago and concluded the following day in Toronto. Hotchkiss missed the second meeting due to a funeral in Calgary.

    The structure was successful in producing discussion, but it did nothing to close the gap in the philosophical differences.

    New Jersey Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello joined Daly, Hotchkiss -- a part-owner of the Calgary Flames -- and outside counsel Bob Batterman on the NHL side in Toronto on Wednesday.

    ``I really don't have any comments,'' Lamoriello said in a phone interview from New Jersey on Thursday. ``When this process is on, I think the comments should come only from the people who are spokespeople.''

    The players' association has kept its team of Linden, Saskin and outside counsel John McCambridge the same for all four small-group sessions.

    So closely guarded are the smallest details from the league's latest round of talks with the players' association, that exactly what they've been talking about is anyone's guess.

    The small-group format was created with the hope that the sides could find common ground that would lead to a new collective bargaining agreement.

    So far, it hasn't worked.

  6. #111
    Atomic Punk Bob_R's Avatar
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    NHL players, owners separated by 54%



    Until now, 54 was an infamous number in hockey circles, primarily because it reflected the mind-boggling number of years the Rangers went between their last two Stanley Cups.
    As of Thursday night, that number took on a new meaning with potentially devastating consequences for the NHL. Owners' insistence that total annual player costs not exceed 54% of the league's hockey-related revenue has become their focal point of the philosophical divide with players.

    And that divide has pushed this season to the verge of cancellation while imperiling next season and beyond.

    NHL executive VP Bill Daly presented NHL Players Association representatives with a fairly comprehensive oral proposal for a new collective bargaining agreement Thursday night. However, despite its underlying complexity, the offer boiled down to the same straightforward principle that owners portray as vital to their economic survival and players insist they'll never accept:

    The linkage of player salaries to a fixed percentage of league revenues.

    After spending four hours meeting with Daly, Devils CEO Lou Lamoriello, Calgary part-owner and NHL Board of Governors chairman Harley Hotchkiss and an attorney Thursday night in New York, the players' three-man team returned to Toronto yesterday with no new talks scheduled. NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin, who accompanied Vancouver center and union president Trevor Linden to the meeting, had this to say after going over the league's proposal:

    "We continue to have significant philosophical differences."

    Facets of the proposal put forth by Daly could be viewed as compromises from previous ownership positions. The most notable was a hike in the individual team payroll caps from the $31 million originally floated to $42 million - and a mandated minimum team payroll of $32 million.

    However, even if players were inclined to be encouraged by that, the overriding 54% umbrella darkened their mood. Because if enough of the NHL's 30 teams approached that $42 million payroll level in any season to drive total league player costs past that 54% cap, players would have to give back money.

    Last season, for example, the NHL reported that its teams took in approximately $2.1 billion in hockey-related revenue. Fifty-four percent of that works out to an average payroll of $37.8 million per team.

    Another feature of the NHL offer reportedly was a $6million annual cap on individual player salaries.

    "I just want to know how they can change guaranteed contracts like mine and other people's," Rangers center Bobby Holik said yesterday. "Legally, I mean, not whether it's right or wrong."

    Holik, who signed a five-year, $45 million contract with the Rangers two years ago, said there is a key difference between an owner-mandated cap and the 24% rollback on all current contracts that the NHLPA offered in December.

    "We agreed to do that," Holik said. "If that's my sacrifice to get the deal done and for players who come after me for years to come, I'm willing to do that. But it's different if it's forced down your throat."

    Saying he was only drawing his own conclusions, Holik reflected the opinion of many players who believed Thursday night's proposal was more about spin than concession. Of course, owners had the exact same view of the NHLPA's December proposal that would have produced little drag on salary escalation going forward.

    "I can't speak for the PA or for the owners, just as an independent thinker myself," Holik said. "I think the PA made some great offers. And what comes to mind with this is that they're thinking it will look like they made an effort to get something done.

    "Very likely I'm wrong and everybody is very sincere. But personal experience makes me skeptical. Maybe I've followed too much politics, where everything is PR."

  7. #112
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    Doe anyone know if they've set a target date? I mean we're getting down to nitty-gritty time here.

  8. #113
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    I think its going to be a long time before we see NHL Hockey.
    ((Just My Two Cents))
    And thats about what its worth.

  9. #114
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    Stephen A. Smith | NHL czar forgets lessons of NBA cap

    By Stephen A. Smith

    Inquirer Columnist

    In 1983, a time when the National Hockey League had no desire to emulate anything about the National Basketball Association, Gary Bettman was perceived as one with the potential to become like David Stern. As shrewd and astute a negotiator as they come, with the pedigree to be the quintessential nightmare for any players' union.

    Back then, Bettman, along with Stern, the NBA commissioner, and Russ Granik, Stern's deputy, was in search of cost certainty, looking to stymie the huge increase in player salaries. As general counsel for the NBA, Bettman helped bring a soft salary-cap system and revenue sharing to professional sports, recognizing that it could one day lead to the collectively-bargained models that owners in both basketball and football enjoy today.

    So what's wrong with Bettman now?

    Stupidity? Stubbornness? Selective amnesia?

    Pick one.

    When you try to ram a hard salary cap down any professional sport's throat in this day and time, all of the above apply.

    Let it be known the NHL players don't have all their screws in tight, either. Regardless of their aversion to any kind of salary cap - they're correct in feeling that way - they are not football or basketball players. The luxury of being contentious is not one they possess.

    According to the NHL, the league generated a paltry $449 million in broadcasting revenue from both national and local contracts and new media in 2002-03, not billions. The Stanley Cup Finals on ABC last season averaged just a 2.6 rating, with the two games on ESPN registering just a 1.2 cable rating, according to Nielsen Media Research.

    Considering those numbers and the supposedly $224 million in losses league-wide - combined with the NHL's assertion that 75 percent of team revenue was paid out in player costs - somebody had better slap some sense into Bob Goodenow, executive director of the National Hockey League Players Association and take a moment to throw two lines at him.

    Right strategy.

    Wrong sport.

    Football, basketball and even baseball today are sports that people actually watch. For those sports, there are no collective sighs filled with apathy with the specter of a season's cancellation looming.

    Yet, that doesn't negate Bettman's foolhardy approach, adopted from the moment he locked out the players in September. Nor is there any excuse for it, either, considering that he was pursued by NHL owners, specifically, because of his vast knowledge and experience as a principal negotiator in handling such circumstances.

    NHL owners were aware that Bettman was hands-on in the development of the soft cap (see the NBA's Larry Bird exception) back in the 1980s. They knew that he was a principal architect of the NBA's revenue-sharing agreement back then.

    Bettman's plan for cost certainty would need to be implemented in such a way that owners would still be allowed to spend to some degree, providing the players with some semblance of a free-market society.

    Before the NBA's latest collective bargaining agreement, teams could exceed the salary cap to re-sign their own players. Other exceptions existed as well. And for more than a decade, before Stern was ever able to place a maximum limit on contracts and insert a rookie wage scale, a soft salary cap had been in place with little or no argument from the players.

    You have to crawl before you walk. Though it may have cost the NBA 464 games during the lockout of 1998-99, no one can argue that the league has not done that.

    Where Bettman is concerned, you can't stop yelling, "What is wrong with this man?"

    After a 10-day strike in 1992, then a 103-day lockout in 1994-95 that eliminated 468 games and nearly half the season, the NHL now has its third stoppage in 13 years.

    Guess who cares? Virtually nobody.

    Fans are not salivating to see Bettman's product, mostly because of the lack of marquee players. There's a reason the league's average salary was $1.83 million last season instead of nearly $5 million, like its NBA brethren.

    Bettman keeps talking about the league's state of mind, how he has the unanimous support of 30 league owners in his pursuit of a hard salary cap and revenue sharing, knowing full well that the Flyers, who love to spend, don't fall under that category.

    Whom does Bettman think he's fooling?

    Bettman keeps spinning and spinning, but he's going nowhere. Meanwhile, a sport that was close to shambles to begin with is now perilously close to extinction. Mainly because of a dogged commissioner who refuses to throw his players a bone.

    A happy medium needs to be reached along the way. The Bettman of old would know this.

    Evidently, money changes us all, not just the players we see and hear about.

    Stephen A. Smith |

    Lockout

    Watch

    136

    TOTAL DAYS OF LOCKOUT

    109

    TOTAL DAYS

    OF SEASON MISSED

    11

    GAMES LOST YESTERDAY

    738

    TOTAL GAMES MISSED

    out of 1,230 regular-season games plus the 2005 All-Star Game.
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  10. #115
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    Thumbs down

    Of course, under any system Mr. Smith would agree to, Canada would basically be left with only 2 or 3 teams....Edmonton not being one of them.

    The players don't want COST CERTAINTY, whether it's in the form of a cap or tax. Period.

    It's not about choosing a "happy medium", which by the way, ISN'T what Bettman did in the 80's with the NBA by going with a soft-cap. That was still basically called "having it 98% Bettman's way".

    Yeesh, I thought the columnists in Detroit (save for Mitch Albom) were retarded......

  11. #116
    Pope Of Greenwich Village SuckaInA3Piece's Avatar
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    ESPN.com news services

    As the NHL non-season teeters on the brink of labor-fueled cancellation, two Red Wings are planning to take flight in the United Hockey League.


    Detroit defensemen Chris Chelios and Derian Hatcher will sign with the UHL's Motor City Mechanics. An official announcement is expected Tuesday.

    Mechanics director of public relations Lauren Segall told The Associated Press that the players will sign to play "more than one game" for the first-year expansion team. Teammate Kris Draper told the AP he'll also join the team if he can arrange the necessary insurance.

    "I'm throwing around the idea. ... If everything works out, I might play," Draper said. "The opportunity to play some games, get some competition, just to change things up because skating is getting monotonous."

    Over 300 NHL players are on teams in European leagues while the lockout that threatens the entire North American season drags on.

    Kirk Maltby, Draper's linemate with the Red Wings, is also thinking about joining Motor City.

    "I might consider it because it's local," Maltby told the AP. "I had considered playing with my brother in England but have decided I'm not leaving the country. Maybe (the Mechanics) wouldn't be a bad option."

    The lockout reached its 138th day on Monday and has already forced the cancellation of 747 of the 1,230 regular-season games plus the 2005 All-Star Game. Time is running out to reach a deal and prevent the NHL from becoming the first major North American sports league to lose an entire season to a labor dispute.

    Chelios has spent the past five seasons with the Red Wings, winning the Stanley Cup in 2002. He was drafted by Montreal in 1981 and played with the Canadiens from the 1983-84 season until the 1989-90 season, when he was traded to his hometown Chicago Blackhawks. He spent eight seasons in the Windy City before being traded to Detroit in the 1998-99 season. He won the Stanley Cup with Montreal (1985) and appeared in the finals with both Montreal (1989) and Chicago (1992). Chelios is a three-time Norris Trophy winner (1989, 1994 and 1996).

    Chelios, who turned 43 earlier this month, might never play in the NHL again if the lockout wipes out the whole season. He is a free agent and has been looking to latch onto a minor-league team while waiting out the stalemate.

    Chelios, whose parents are Greek, has also been toying with the idea of trying out for the Greek Olympic bobsled team for the 2006 Winter Games at Turin, Italy.

    Hatcher, 32, was drafted by the Minnesota North Stars in 1990 and played with the North Stars-Dallas Stars franchise from 1991 until 2003, when he signed with the Wings. He helped Dallas win the only Stanley Cup in franchise history in 1999. He was limited to 15 regular-season games and 12 playoff contests last season because of a knee injury.

    Chelios and Hatcher, both Americans, have played in the Olympics. Both were on the 1998 team that didn't win a medal in Nagano, Japan, but did invite controversy by trashing several hotel rooms. Chelios was on the Olympic squad that won silver at Salt Lake City in 2002.

    The Mechanics are currently last in the UHL's Central Conference with a 11-29-6 record. Garry Unger resigned as coach on Monday to join the front office; a new coach will also be named at Tuesday's news conference.
    "It's always a Catch-22 situation. They hate you if you're the same, and they hate you if you're different."
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  12. #117
    Pope Of Greenwich Village SuckaInA3Piece's Avatar
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    Ice hockey in the hotbed of fashion, opera and soccer is providing a "pretty good" life for Rob DiMaio.

    By Mac Engel

    FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM

    FORT WORTH, Texas - Milan, Italy, is internationally famous for its opera house and for fashion.

    It is also the home of the Vipers, its less-than-internationally famous hockey team.

    But with the NHL lockout continuing, Dallas Stars winger Rob DiMaio, a former Flyer, has found refuge in Milan. Only weeks before his 37th birthday, DiMaio eagerly awaits the return of the NHL, but in the meantime, he is one of the few Stars who has enjoyed his European "vacation."

    "It's not a bad place to be," DiMaio said in a phone interview from Milan. "The food, I guess you would say, is amazing."

    As the NHL and the NHL Players' Association talked for a few days last week, DiMaio remained in Milan, where he arrived Dec. 29.

    The hockey, according to DiMaio, "is pretty good." And, obviously, pretty different.

    In one of his first games with the Vipers, he scored a hat trick. DiMaio had nine goals in 69 games with the Stars last season.

    Most of the buildings in the 10-team Italian league seat between 3,000 and 5,000, and look like arenas for small college or minor-league teams. It's common for fans to stand behind the glass. Uniforms are like billboards, with advertisements plastered all over them. Almost all the teams are in Northern Italy's mountain or ski resort towns. The rinks feature the larger international ice dimensions. Fights are rare.

    And the fans...

    "They're the best. It's not like back home. They are standing, chanting, waving flags," said DiMaio, who played for the Flyers from 1994 to 1996. "If you've ever seen a European soccer game, that's it. They sing and dance all game. I've never experienced anything like it. They are so passionate about it."

    After trying the Swiss league, which he didn't care for, DiMaio headed to Italy. According to the player association's Web site, 14 NHL players are playing in Europe, including Pittsburgh's Ryan Malone, Los Angeles' Eric Belanger and Montreal's Niklas Sundstrom. In comparison, more than 50 are playing in Russia.

    For DiMaio, a native Canadian whose career is winding down, the lockout couldn't have come at a worse time. But with the Winter Olympics coming to Turin in 2006, the lockout couldn't have come at a better time for a nation whose sporting identity often is equated with soccer.

    "The teams we are playing don't have huge facilities, and they're OK," DiMaio said. "They are trying to pump the game because of the Olympics, so for them it's been great to have these NHL guys here."

    DiMaio lives in a hotel room that has a kitchenette. His computer and Internet access are down right now, which limits his communication with the English-speaking world. The language barrier, however, doesn't prevent him from dining out or relaxing at a cafe.

    "You take in the European experience. The lifestyle is so different. It's neat to see," DiMaio said.

    He and Niko Kapanen, who plays in Switzerland, are the only Stars regulars still playing in European leagues. Goalie Marty Turco went to Stockholm in November to play in Sweden's top league, but returned home after about a month because he believed he wasn't playing up to his capabilities.

    "I didn't feel like I could get myself into shape," Turco said. "It may only be Sweden, but the competitive juices flow, the fans follow the teams to games. Stockholm is a cosmopolitan city. You read the papers, and you want to perform well. I didn't want to be there [just] to get by."

    DiMaio, on the other hand, is more than getting by in a city better known for its opera and fashion than for its hockey.
    "It's always a Catch-22 situation. They hate you if you're the same, and they hate you if you're different."
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    ESPN.com news services

    The NHL is expected to make a formal proposal to the players' association Tuesday, and it still includes a salary cap, according to media reports.

    With the clock's ticking growing ever louder, the league sent a memo to teams outlining its latest ideas.

    The proposal, much of which already has been disclosed informally to NHLPA leaders, would include a salary cap with a minimum of $32 million and a max of $42 million but likely would not include an individual cap of $6 million, according to a New York Daily News report.

    The plan also is expected to require profit-sharing, with a 50-50 split of money over a figure to be determined, although speculation has put it at at least $100 million.

    The league also wants to make salary arbitration a two-way street, giving teams as well as players the right to exercise that option.

    Opinions differ as to whether a luxury tax -- a league no-go thus far -- could be on the table. The Daily News reports that the formal proposal won't include a luxury tax, but former Canucks president and general manager Brian Burke told the Toronto Star that the two sides "will discuss a luxury tax."

    The lockout reached its 138th day Monday and already has forced the cancellation of 747 of the 1,230 regular-season games plus the 2005 All-Star Game. Time is running out to reach a deal and prevent the NHL from becoming the first major North American sports league to lose an entire season to a labor dispute.

    Speculation is that a deal must be done this week -- or next week at the latest -- to salvage the current season.
    "It's always a Catch-22 situation. They hate you if you're the same, and they hate you if you're different."
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    Domi takes a shot

    Leaf pleads with sides to get a deal done now

    By MIKE ZEISBERGER, TORONTO SUN

    A candid Tie Domi has a blunt message for Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow. "Get together now before it's too late!" the veteran Maple Leafs forward said yesterday, urging the NHL commissioner and the head of the players' association to finally step out of the shadows and up to the plate before the 2004-05 season is officially flushed away.

    "Bob and Gary are our leaders and they owe it to the 730 players, the 30 owners, the countless number of fans and the hundreds of thousands of people who are affected by this, to give it one last shot. If the season is cancelled without one last shot or without their best efforts, there will be serious consequences for both parties and the sport."

    Domi is worried about the future of hockey, especially given the indifference of many fans toward the lockout.

    "When dog shows and poker are receiving higher ratings (than hockey had) on ESPN, there is legitimate reason to be concerned," he said.

    "This has nothing to do with who's right and who's wrong. This is about the game. And for two guys to have control of this situation and not talk, it doesn't sit well.

    "It's not like the clock is ticking any more. We're at midnight right now. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out this is a crucial time for all parties involved."

    Unfortunately, Domi's plea might be falling on deaf ears.

    In an e-mail message yesterday afternoon, NHL executive vice-president Bill Daly said he "anticipated that something will be scheduled for later this week." Yet later in the day, Daly seemed less optimistic, wondering why he had not heard from the union.

    The answer is simple. The players were not impressed during a pair of meetings last week, claiming the owners continue to insist on cost certainty -- meaning a salary cap.

    "Bill knows that the concepts they discussed with us on Thursday would not form the basis for an agreement, so he should not be surprised that he hasn't heard from us. We were very clear on Thursday that we would not be negotiating over his proposed concepts," Ted Saskin, NHLPA senior director, said in a statement.

    Maybe not. But Domi was quick to point out that Bettman and Goodenow were not part of any recent face-to-face talks.

    "We know there is a lot of bad blood right now, but we can't let egos get in the way of the game," said Domi, one of the more business-savvy Leafs. "We need to work together to help the game grow.

    "The owners and players both want a successful NHL and that starts with a partnership. But before you can have that, you need trust and there isn't a lot of that right now. We need to fix that.

    "One side wants a cap, one doesn't. It's up to (Bob and Gary) to be creative and find compromise."

    Domi has seen little of that from the league.

    The union, he noted, offered a 24% across-the-board rollback in salaries. The league, meanwhile, has conceded little.

    "The bottom line is, the fans don't want to hear our issues. They don't want to hear who's right and who's wrong. They just want entertaining hockey back."

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    NHL makes new offer to players' association
    By IRA PODELL, AP Sports Writer
    February 2, 2005


    AP - Jan 26, 3:56 pm EST
    More PhotosNEW YORK (AP) -- The NHL's latest proposal to end the season-long lockout was rejected Wednesday by the players' union, which then came back with its own idea: Bring the commissioner to the bargaining table.

    In turning down the league's offer, the union reiterated it won't accept a salary cap as a solution.

    ``The league presented a written proposal with minor variations of concepts that were presented orally by the NHL last Thursday,'' NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin said. ``We told the league last week and again today that their multilayered salary cap proposals were not the basis for an agreement.''

    Commissioner Gary Bettman and union head Bob Goodenow again were absent from the negotiations. The four-hour session in Newark, N.J., marked the fifth time in two weeks the sides have talked.

    The union suggested the sides meet again on Thursday with Goodenow and Bettman in attendance.

    The NHL proposed a six-year deal that contained a cap that would force teams to spend at least $32 million on player costs but no more than $42 million -- including benefits. Both figures would be adjusted each year to reflect changes in league revenues.

    The lockout reached its 140th day Wednesday, and has forced the cancellation of 762 of the 1,230 regular-season games plus the All-Star game.

    ADVERTISEMENTBettman has promised the 30 NHL teams that he will get them cost certainty, a direct link between league revenues and players costs. This offer would give the players between 53 and 55 percent of league revenues.

    If a deal is reached in time for hockey to be played this year, the NHL proposed that the players' association would still receive 53 percent of revenues generated from a full playoff schedule that would follow a shortened regular season.

    Also included in the offer -- which could be reopened by the union after four years -- was a profit-sharing plan that would allow the players' association to evenly split revenues over a negotiated level with the league.

    On Dec. 9, the players' association proposed a luxury-tax system with an immediate 24 percent rollback on all existing contracts. The NHL liked the idea of cutting down salaries but called that a short-term fix.

    That portion of the union's offer, however, was accepted and included in the league's new proposal.

    The NHL also proposed keeping guaranteed player contracts as they currently exist and implementing a jointly monitored accounting and audit system that would penalize teams with multimillion dollar fines and the loss of draft choices if they failed to disclose financial information.

    The league agreed to keep arbitration, a change from its counterproposal to the union on Dec. 14, but the NHL wants to make it so teams can take players to arbitration instead of it being a one-way process.

    The league also proposed offering a joint council between owners and players to discuss various business and game-related issues.


    Updated on Wednesday, Feb 2, 2005 2:54 pm EST

 

 

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