SI: John, we understand that you lobbied hard for a merger with the WHA. Because there was no merger, don't you consider this a defeat for John Ziegler?
Ziegler. We're the only sport that isn't operating under one league and I was in favor of doing what we had to do to reach a decision. If the legal and financial problems could have been solved, on a theoretical basis, yes, I was in favor. But it wasn't until we got all the information that we could make a judgment. And then, there was no question. I concurred with the board's vote to reject a merger agreement.
SI: The WHA owners vow to fight on. Will they last another year?
Ziegler. They say they will, so....
Eagleson: I think they can last in some capacity for another two, three or five years.
SI: What effect will the WHA have on NHL salaries?
Ziegler. Because of our financial situation, the lush bidding war between the leagues is over. For the last four or five years we warned everybody that the way salaries were going up, things would only get worse.
Eagleson: Well, you're right—if that's any consolation.
Ziegler. Absolutely none.
SI: Alan, what's happening here? Why you're cheerfully agreeing that high salaries have hurt the owners.