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September 16, 2004 - Image 17

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-16

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 16, 2004 -17A

Hockey
locks out
of season
NEW YORK (AP) - The Nation-
al Hockey League is locking out its
players starting today, threatening
to keep the sport off the ice for the
entire 2004-05 season and perhaps
beyond in an effort by management
to gain massive change in the sport's
economic structure.
After the long-expected decision
was approved unanimously yester-
day by NHL owners, commissioner
Gary Bettman repeatedly belittled
the union's bargaining position, talk-
ed about the possibility the confron-
tation could extend into the 2005-06
season and said the conflict has jeop-
ardized the NHL's participation in
the 2006 Winter Olympics.
"If there's enough time to play
some games, we'll do it," he said of
this season, "and if there's not, we
won't."
Bettman called it a "bleak day,"
claimed teams had combined to lose
more than $1.8 billion over 10 years
and cited bankruptcy filings by teams
in Buffalo, Los Angeles, Ottawa and
Pittsburgh. He said management
will not agree to a labor deal that
doesn't include a defined relationship
between revenue and salaries.
"Until he gets off the salary-cap
issue, there's not a chance for us to
get an agreement," union head Bob
Goodenow said in Toronto, adding
that players "are not prepared to
entertain a salary cap in any way,
shape, measure or form."
Far apart on both philosophy and
finances, the sides haven't bargained
since last Thursday and say they are
entrenched for the long run, echoing
words of baseball players and owners
at the start of their disastrous 7 1/2
-month labor war of 1994-95.
There is almost no chance the sea-
son will start as scheduled on Oct.
13, and Bettman told teams to release
their arenas for other events for the
next 30 days. Bettman said the sea-
son can't extend past June, and the
lockout threatens to wipe out the
Stanley Cup final for the first time
since 1919, when the series between
Montreal and Seattle was stopped
after five games due a Spanish influ-
enza epidemic.
"The union is trying to win a fight,
hoping that the owners will give up.
That will turn out to be a terrible
error in judgment," Bettman said.

Athletics fan to pres

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The
woman whose nose was broken when
Texas reliever Frank Francisco threw
a chair into the stands said yesterday
she plans to seek compensation for
her injuries once prosecutors and
baseball officials complete their
investigation.
Francisco, who made his initial
appearance in court yesterday after
police booked him on a charge of
felony aggravated assault, also may
file a civil suit, his attorney said.
Meanwhile, Alameda County
Assistant District Attorney Norbert
Chu said he needed more time to
investigate before deciding whether
to formally charge Francisco in the
fracas.
"As of right now, charges have not
been filed. The case is still under
investigation," Chu said.
Jennifer Bueno, 41, appeared with
her husband, Craig, at a news con-
ference with a large white bandage
covering her nose and purple rings
under her eyes.
"We definitely feel the Texas Rang-
ers are responsible for this and that
they should pay for this," personal
injury lawyer Gary Gwilliam said.
Francisco showed up 20 minutes
early for his initial court appear-
ance, trying to avoid photographers

by holding his head in his hands as
he sat in the hallway. He talked qui-
etly with his agent, Richard Thomp-
son, and a friend, Ray Ramirez,
and made no comment to reporters
before entering the courtroom. His
next appearance was set for Oct. 29.
During Texas' 7-6, 10-inning loss to
Oakland on Monday, Francisco threw
a chair into the right-field box seats
and hit two spectators in the head.
Craig Bueno acknowledged that,
before the fracas, he was part of some
"bantering" with the Rangers that
included such taunts as "Who is going
to take the loss?" and "When are you
going to lose?" but "no swear words."
"It's an American tradition," the
42-year-old fire battalion chief said
of his heckling, adding that he and
his wife bought season tickets near
the visitors' bullpen just "so we can
get on them a little bit." He said he
had never been ejected from a game
for being overly aggressive or rude
toward players.
"It's part of going to the baseball
game," said Jennifer Bueno, a home-
maker who cares for the couple's
three teenage sons. "I don't think
(Craig) did anything wrong."
Craig Bueno said that when "a sea
of blue" Rangers led by reliever Doug
Brocail approached their seats, he

S charges
"took a defensive position" by stand-
ing in front of his wife to shield her,
but ducked when he saw the chair
winging his way. Jennifer Bueno said
she doesn't remember being struck,
but that she was "fearful for my life"
when the confrontation turned ugly.
She said "it would be a little while"
before she attends A's games again.
Francisco's attorney, Rick Minkoff,
gave a dramatically different account
of what happened. He said Francisco
rushed out of the dugout to defend
his teammates, and was pushed up
against a fence in the crush of fans
and players.
"He was grabbed, hard and force-
fully, on his left wrist. He didn't see
who did it. Fortunately, it's not his
pitching hand, and he was able to get
free," Minkoff said outside court.
Minkoff said the fans are to blame,
and that Francisco may sue in civil
court. He wouldn't comment on who
the targets might be.
The Athletics and the Rangers also
disagreed over who was to blame for
the altercation. David Rinetti, A's
vice president of stadium operations,
said Tuesday a review showed the
fans' behavior wasn't over the line
according to baseball's rules of con-
duct that are posted at every ballpark
entrance.

Scott Hartnell and the rest of the NHL players are going to be locked out this season.

"They are apparently convinced that
come some point in the season, the
owners' resolve will waver, and I'm
telling you that is wrong, wrong,
wrong."
NHL management claims teams
combined to lose $273 million in
2002-03 and $224 million last sea-
son. Bettman said the union's pro-
posals would do little for owners,
and said the six offers rejected by
the union would lower the average
player salary from $1.8 million to
$1.3 million.
Goodenow said players had offered
more than $100 million in annual
concessions.
"The notion that we don't have
competitive balance is absurd," said
Vancouver center Trevor Linden, the
union's president.
"I think it's pretty fair to say that
we're at an impasse right now, and
my guess is that we've probably been
at impasse for months, if not a year,"
he said. "At some point when we're at
impasse, we could simply say, 'We're
going to open and here are the terms
and conditions. Let's go.' It's that
simple."
Owners have contributed $300
million to a league fund to help get
them through a lockout, and the union
has retained licensing money to help

its members. Bettman said about 20
teams would lose less money dur-
ing a lockout than they would if play
continued.
"It is a sad day for all of us," Mon-
treal owner George Gillett said.
The 30 teams - 24 in the United
States and six in Canada - had been
set to start opening training camps
today, the day after the expiration
of the current labor contract. The
deal was first agreed to in 1995 and
extended two years later through
Sept. 15, 2004. Bettman termed the
extension "a mistake, in hindsight."
"It kind of stinks, packing up and
moving out of here," Philadelphia
right wing Tony Amonte said at his
team's practice rink. "I can't say they
weren't preparing us for it."
Some players are expected to
sign with European leagues, and
others could join a six-team, four-
on-four circuit called the Original
Stars Hockey League, which is set to
start play Friday in Barrie, Ontario.
Others could go to a revived World
Hockey Association, which plans to
open Oct. 29 with eight teams play-
ing 76 games apiece.
Bettman said more than 100
employees from the NHL's central
staff of about 225 will be terminated,
most on Monday.

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