Labor Negotiations: Putting a Season on Ice

Putting a Season on Ice

Hockey players can be brutal on the rink, but at the bargaining table they have been the softies of the sports world. No longer: last week the N.H.L. Players Association voted 560 to 4 to stage the first major strike in the league's 75-year history. The skate-out occurred a week before the Stanley Cup playoffs -- the most lucrative games of the year -- were to begin.

Salaries, which average $350,000 in the league, are not the chief issue. What players mainly want is fewer restrictions on free agency so they will have more mobility to move from team to team...

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