Jewish World Review Jan. 30, 2003 / 27 Shavat, 5763

Evan Weiner

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The NHL's game plan | Are National Hockey League teams trying to just kill the clock until the collective bargaining agreement with its players end in 2004 or are all 30 trying to compete for the Stanley Cup?

NHL ownership in a good many cities seems to just be biding time until September 15, 2004 when the present CBA ends. In a sign of the times, the Montreal Canadiens made a trade and received a cash sum as part of the deal.

Maybe it's a form of revenue sharing, giving up a valuable player for a lesser player and money, but Montreal now joins the Edmontons and Calgary of the world in doing business that way.

Of course, the NHL does have two franchises which have declared bankruptcy, so its a good day when an owner just reports losses instead of filing bankruptcy papers. Yet, the Ottawa and Buffalo chapter 11 filings have nothing to do with payroll and everything to do with ownership decisions.

Still, NHL owners are hanging on to the hope that in 20 months, the economic foundation of the game will change and that all 30 teams will be on the same economic footing.

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JWR contributor Evan Weiner is a radio commentator on "The Business of Sports" for Westwood One's Metro Networks. Comment on this column by clicking here.


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01/22/03: Will San Diego lose on Sunday --- even if it wins?

© 2003, Evan Weiner