SUN Hockey Pool

NHL numbers 'hogwash'

NHLPA President Bob Goodenow delivers a presentation to the media during a news conference in...

NHLPA President Bob Goodenow delivers a presentation to the media during a news conference in Toronto, Thursday Dec. 9, 2004.(CP PHOTO/Adrian Wyld)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

THE NHL Players' Association came out swinging against the NHL yesterday as hopes for a 2004-05 season fades. NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow, armed with charts and graphs, told reporters on a conference call yesterday that the league's estimates in its proposal made Tuesday in Toronto were "hogwash."

Gary Bettman's comments Tuesday that the union's offer -- highlighted by a 24% salary rollback -- would still lead to financial losses as early as the 2005-06 season, really irked Goodenow.

'OFFER HAS TEETH'

"We made a significant and substantial offer. This was not a one-shot deal, as some people have called it," said a fuming Goodenow. "This offer has teeth, it has bite and it has a lasting effect on the future economics of the game.

"This is a statement of the facts. (The numbers put forward by the league) are a bunch of hogwash. You have to understand it for what it is. These are just mixed-up numbers that have been put in a blender and diced up. These are a bunch of ridiculous forecasts."

Essentially, the NHLPA disputes the league's projections that salaries will rise 12.1% a year while revenues will only increase by 3%.

Goodenow, who was accompanied by NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin on the conference call, used annual revenue growth of 7.8% and player costs of 7.3% to show what effect the union's proposal would have.

According to Bettman, if the league had accepted what the players offered "we'd be right back where we were in two years."

But Goodenow emphatically suggested otherwise.

DALY WON'T BITE

He claimed the league should have used actual "real" numbers to make the calculations that were given to the union executive committee -- including Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson --when the NHLPA rejected Bettman's proposed salary cap earlier this week.

"When people manipulate numbers ... that's what I would call a desperate move," said Saskin.

NHL VP Bill Daly had no interest in getting involved in a game of he said/she said with the union. Instead, Daly issued a statement that was released by the league.

NO MEETINGS PLANNED

"We stand behind the 3% average annual growth projection we used for our modelling, particularly for a business that will be coming out of an extended shutdown. We do not believe the union's public negotiation with the media warrants any further comment," said Daly.

One thing is clear: These two sides aren't even close to reaching an agreement and no discussions are planned.

"There are no meetings scheduled and we're not working on another proposal," said Goodenow. "We've been trying to negotiate to get an agreement."

"Gary said that our proposal didn't work. That's nonsense, that's absolute nonsense."

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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