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STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS : NOTES : McNall Denies Report He Offered Cup Bonus

June 04, 1993|HELENE ELLIOTT

MONTREAL — King owner Bruce McNall denied a report in Le Journal de Montreal that he had offered his players a $1-million bonus for winning the Stanley Cup, a move that would violate NHL rules.

However, several players who requested anonymity said Thursday that they had heard rumors the bonus would be theirs to split if they defeat the Canadiens and win the franchise's first Cup title.

"Actually, it's $2 million," McNall said, laughing. "Really, I don't know where it came from. It's ridiculous. Nothing happened. I've been very good as chairman of the Board of Governors. You can't do that."

The Journal's story quoted a source close to the team and said McNall made the offer hours after the Kings' seventh-game semifinal victory over Toronto last Saturday.

NHL spokesman Arthur Pincus said the league was satisfied with the Kings' denial of the Journal's story. League rules forbid offering a player or players bonuses based on the team's success in a game. However, owners such as Detroit's Mike Ilitch have been known to match the league's playoff shares.

Coach Barry Melrose also said he wasn't aware of McNall having made such an offer, but he couldn't resist joking about it.

"The coaches are going to get most of it," he said. "It's $999,000 for the coaches and $1,000 for the players. Maybe Bruce is going to make it. My boss is a unique man."

Said assistant coach Cap Raeder: "If there were a million dollars at stake, I'd be a nervous wreck, and I'm not."

The Cup-winning team will receive $1.25 million, to be divided into as many shares as the players decide to award. The losers will split $825,000.

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Long time, no see: After a pregame ceremony Tuesday, during which the Stanley Cup was displayed to the Forum crowd, Wayne Gretzky skated over to get a closer peek.

"I hadn't seen it in five years, so I wanted to look at it again," he said.

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The Stanley Cup and other NHL trophies will be on display in the lobby of the Westin Airport hotel through noon Monday. The hardware can be viewed 24 hours a day beginning at noon today.

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