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Talks discontinued, no lockout end in sight

By TOM JONES, Times Staff Writer
Published January 29, 2005

The NHL's lockout talks reached an intermission. If and when the league and its players' union resume, they could be in sudden-death overtime.

The next round of talks likely will produce the end of the season or the end of lockout.

After meeting Wednesday in Toronto and Thursday in New York, the sides did not meet Friday. No future talks have been announced.

Several reports, including one from Canada's Sports Network, said the union spent Friday updating its membership on the status of the talks. While the league did not introduce a formal proposal Thursday, it did propose an outline that was not well-received.

The league continues to push a salary cap. According to several reports, the NHL suggested a soft cap (teams over a certain dollar figure would be taxed) and a hard cap on top of that. Under this system, the hard cap number could be set high enough to satisfy the players. But the union questioned whether the soft cap, which would be based on league revenues, would sink too low.

The union is sticking by its Dec. 9 proposal that offered a 24 percent rollback in salaries and a luxury tax.

"We made a serious proposal (Dec. 9) and they didn't even want to look at it," Lightning center Brad Richards told the Canadian Press. "It's disappointing and it made everybody angry. I haven't seen any reason to be optimistic since."

HISTORICAL APPEARANCE: Two-time Olympian Angela Ruggiero became the first woman to occupy a position other than goalie in a U.S. men's professional hockey game, playing defense Friday for the Tulsa Oilers.

She and her brother, Bill, the goaltender for the Oilers, also made hockey history as the first brother and sister to play together in a North American pro game.

Ruggiero, whose appearance was limited to the first period by Central Hockey League rules, was cheered on by a crowd packed with young girls.

Restless and sweating following 6:33 of play, Ruggiero said she didn't want to stop.

"I wish I could play the whole game and come back tomorrow," she said.

Ruggiero said her nerves had settled by her second shift on the ice.

"There was definitely a lot of contact, but it was all clean. That's hockey. It's a rough game," Ruggiero said.

She made solid passes, but did not stand out.

[Last modified January 29, 2005, 01:04:08]

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