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CHELIOS APOLOGIZES; MEDIA, COLLEAGUES LET HIM OFF EASY
Published September 30, 1994
Blackhawk Chris Chelios called the NHL league office to apologize for his comments that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman or his family could be endangered should there be a lockout, according to NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow. Goodenow: "Obviously, it's a stressful situation for everyone involved. This is not to condone improper behavior." Chelios' call was taken by NHL Senior VP & General Counsel Jeff Pash, but as of last night Chelios had not spoken to Bettman. NHL VP Commuications Arthur Pincus: "In times like this, we understand that people say things that they may not mean. We hope that this is the case here" (Joe LaPointe, N.Y. TIMES, 9/30). Chelios did not talk to the media on Thursday. NHLPA Media Relation Dir Steve McAllister: "It's impossible for us to control what 600 hockey players might say" (Terry Armour, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/30). In Los Angeles, Mike Downey writes, "Although I cannot condone such sentiments, bilious as they are, I can almost understand young Chelios' rage." He does add, however: "Chris has apparently been to one too many Martin Scorcese movies" (L.A. TIMES, 9/30). ESPN analyst Al Morganti said that "nobody likes Chris Chelios throwing those kinds of words," but that his comments haven't "changed the philosophy of the situation" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/29). Pincus said the league has no plans to fine Chelios (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 9/30). PLAYERS STICK BY HIM: Alan Lessels reports that comments about Bettman in the Bruins' locker room were pointed, but that Chelios "went a step -- or three, or four -- further." Bruin Ray Bourque: "Chris got a little emotional there" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/30). "Many of the Flyers, while not endorsing the length to which Chelios went, blasted Bettman on their own." Eric Lindros: "He deserves it" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/30). MORE LOCKER-ROOM VENTING: NHLPA VP Marty McSorley: "Basically, the idea is to attack the union when they feel the union is at its weakest. I think they want to put the players in their place, gain control and be able to reap the benefits" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/30). Gretzky said Bettman underestimated the players' resolve: "It's a strong union" (Al Strachan, TORONTO SUN, 9/30). Ranger Jay Wells on Bettman: "He'll get his some day. Some punk comes in who never sweated a day in his life trying to revamp the league" (Mark Everson, N.Y. POST, 9/30). One NHLPA source: "Bettman's saying publicly that he's concerned about the Canadian small markets, but it's a lie. He told Bob (Goodenow) he didn't care about them at all" (N.Y. POST, 9/30). Blackhawk Bernie Nicholls said he "nearly puked" when he saw "Bettman's smiling picture" on Wednesday (Tony Gallagher, Vancouver PROVINCE, 9/30). Maple Leaf Todd Gill said Bettman is "taking food out of my family's mouths": "The man has no idea about hockey. He's a businessman" (TORONTO SUN, 9/30). Canuck Sergio Momesso: "Money is what it's all about -- nothing else" (VANCOUVER SUN, 9/30). HOLLYWOOD HERE WE COME: The NHLPA gave Penguin players permission to appear in scenes from Jean-Claude Van Damme's "Sudden Death." The players skate tomorrow in the Igloo and will play a simulated game while Van Damme tries to save the Igloo from terrorists (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/30).