Hockey season still on hold

By Ken Rappoport

The Associated Press

Seventeen days and 93 games and still counting.

The numbers continued to mount Monday in the postponed NHL season with seemingly no quick solution in sight to the labor dispute between the league and its players.

"Considering they rejected our last proposal, and their current position, there's not much to talk about," said Bob Goodenow, executive director of the NHL Players Association.

The league has been in a holding pattern since Oct. 1, the original starting date of the season. That was first postponed by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in hopes of reaching a new collective bargaining agreement with the players by Oct. 15.

The deadline passed, following a rejection of the latest players' proposal by the owners last Tuesday.

Bettman and Goodenow haven't spoken since. NHL spokesman Arthur Pincus said Monday there were no new negotiations planned at this point.

There still was no word whether the 93 postponed games would be rescheduled and that the entire 84-game schedule can be salvaged. The league hasn't officially canceled any games, but has announced that a formal policy regarding ticket refunds would be issued Nov. 1 if no contract was reached by then.

Meanwhile, NHL vice president Brian Burke continued his tour of NHL cities, stopping in Edmonton and Vancouver on Monday.

Burke has presented the owners' case so fans can draw their own conclusions about the labor dispute that has delayed the 1994-95 season.

In a related development, players continued to explore their options in other leagues. Marty McSorley, the Los Angeles Kings' forward-defenseman, was hoping to sign a deal with the Las Vegas Thunder of the International Hockey League. McSorley continued contract discussions with Thunder general manager-coach Bob Strumm on Monday.

Several foreign-born players were back in Europe to play during the course of the lockout.

They included several in the Finnish League Los Angeles' Jari Kurri and Winnipeg's Teemu Selanne with Jokerit; St. Louis' Esa Tikkanen and Chicago's Christian Ruuttu with IFK; Dallas' Jarkko Varvio with HPF and Boston's Mikko Makela with Iles of Tampere.

During the NHL lockout, players are allowed to play in Europe and with other non-NHL teams. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has reversed its ruling not to permit NHL players to perform in Europe. Chairman Rene Fasel made the decision Sunday, after instructions from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

Quebec's Peter Forsberg has gone home to Sweden and is considering playing for his former team, MoDo.

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