THE Winnipeg Jets and National Hockey League vehemently denied a report out of Boston Wednesday that suggested Bruins' owner Jeremy Jacobs reprimanded a Jets' representative at a recent NHL Board of Governors meeting.
Comcast Sportsnet Northeast columnist Joe Haggerty, who writes the blog Bruins Talk for the website, reported that at a recent governors' meeting a Jet alternate governor suggested a long lockout would hurt the franchise's momentum and hurt the game.
The story said Jacobs then "answered by reprimanding the Winnipeg representative as one of the 'new kids on the block' and informed him that he would know when he was allowed to speak in the NHL boardroom."
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, in an email to the Free Press, said the story was a "100 per cent complete and total fabrication."
And Jets' chairman and governor Chipman issued the following statement Wednesday night:
"I was disappointed to learn today of a report which claimed an exchange took place between an Alternate Governor of the Winnipeg Jets and Jeremy Jacobs of the Boston Bruins at a recent NHL Board of Governors meeting. I was present throughout all BOG proceedings and can categorically state that no such exchange between Mr. Jacobs and either one of our Alternate Governors -- Patrick Phillips or Kevin Cheveldayoff -- ever took place. Any suggestion otherwise is completely false."
Haggerty told the Free Press Wednesday he stands by his reporting and the story. This is the second denial by the league and an owner over a published report that indicated possible dissension in the NHL ranks. Earlier this month Philadelphia Flyers chairman Ed Snider issued a statement denying a Philadelphia Daily News story that said he had 'soured' on collective bargaining negotiations and was no longer a supporter of commissioner Gary Bettman.
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True North Sports and Entertainment won't be playing Grinch to its employees this holiday season.
As the NHL lockout drags on some clubs are looking more at laying off staff or reducing hours because of the labour impasse. The Minnesota Wild, for example, confirmed Tuesday its staff will be put on a four-day work week that equates to a 20 per cent pay cut beginning Dec. 28 if a new deal is not in place. And when the lockout began, Wild executives and staff making more than $70,000 annually took cuts of between 30 and 35 per cent.
A Winnipeg Jets' spokesman indicated Wednesday there has been no change to TNSE's approach to the lockout -- there have been no layoffs or pay reductions.
A number of teams have not asked staff to take cuts or implemented layoffs, including the Jets, Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals
Staff at the NHL offices were asked to work four-day weeks beginning on Oct. 1, while five other clubs that have also cut salaries or laid off staff.
-- With files from Gary Lawless
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