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Revenue sharing possible

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 4, 2001


DENVER -- The NHL may try a revenue sharing plan to ensure Canada's six teams will not relocate.

At the very least, commissioner Gary Bettman said Saturday in a news conference at the Pepsi Center, the collective bargaining agreement will be tweaked when it expires at the end of the 2003-04 season.

"We are committed to not diminishing our presence one iota in Canada," he said.

The issue is acute because Ron Joyce and Grant Bartlett recently sold their shares of the Flames to the team's seven other owners because they said they were disillusioned with the game's economics. And American George Gillett is buying the Canadiens.

"We need a new agreement that works for all teams," Bettman said. "We are committed to doing that in large part because it will ensure the future of the Canadian teams. ... In the right economic system, dealing with revenue sharing is something that has to be focused on and may very well happen."

Other issues: Bettman said expansion is out, visors will not be mandatory and the playoffs will stay at 16 teams. He also said he expects the sale of the Coyotes to a group that includes Wayne Gretzky will be completed by the Feb. 15 deadline.

HEROES OF HOCKEY: Glenn Anderson's goal in the second and final period gave the NHL Heroes a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Heroes.

SKILLS COMPETITION: Fastest skater -- Bill Guerin, Bruins; Shooting accuracy -- Ray Bourque, Avalanche; Best goaltender -- Sean Burke, Coyotes; Winning team -- North America.

FAMILY FEUD: It is expected Colorado's Peter Forsberg will take the opening faceoff for the World team in today's 51st All-Star Game. It is expected he will be opposed by teammate and North American All-Star Joe Sakic. "I'm going to get him," Forsberg said. "I'll pay off the ref if need be."

HULLACIOUS: Outspoken Stars wing Brett Hull didn't disappoint.

On the North Stars' move to Dallas, he said, "I didn't feel bad at all when the team left Minneapolis. I can remember going there and playing in front of 3,000 people. They didn't deserve a team because they didn't support it. But now, it's back and it's great in Minnesota. The fans realize what they missed."

NUMBERS GAME: North American coach Joel Quenneville doesn't mind the roster change from 25 to 21 players. "You have four lines and six (defensemen), and everybody's going to play with the same people the whole game," he said. "With seven or eight (defensemen) and more forwards, it was pretty tough."

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