BUFFALO -- The NHL Players' Association's internal fight is about to hit new heights.
More than 50 NHLers have filed a charge with U.S.-based National Labour Relations Board, alleging "illegal activities" by Players Association executive director Ted Saskin and union president Trevor Linden.
The dissident group includes Senators goaltender Dominik Hasek, Toronto's Ed Belfour and Eric Lindros along with Boston's Glen Murray, Shawn McEachern and Brian Leetch.
Led by NHLPA executive VP Trent Klatt, who recently retired from the Los Angeles Kings, the group wants the NLRB to investigate the process used by the union and Linden to hire Saskin in July to replace Bob Goodenow, who was forced to resign following the 301-day lockout.
Blackhawks defenceman Chris Chelios is also helping to lead the charge.
"Our goals are very simple," said Klatt in a news release. "We want to educate our members on the most recent illegal activities of our union. We want to 'right the wrongs' that have occurred and we want to make sure that this can never happen again."
Said Hasek: "This is nothing against Ted. We just want to make sure things were done legally ... This isn't for us, this is for the future players."
Saskin wasn't happy to hear about the players' action.
"We understand from media reports that an NLRB charge has been filed against the NHLPA." Saskin said in a statement. ""While we have not yet received a copy of the charge, based on the information contained in the reports we are confident that the charge has no merit whatsoever. It is regrettable that the individuals responsible for filing the charge have chosen to take this step at a time when NHLPA player representatives and executive committee members are in the midst of conducting a democratic and fair election.
"This election process, which was agreed to by the full executive board and without any objections, will continue and will not be disrupted by such baseless actions."
Saskin added he had planned to meet with Chelios and the Wings tomorrow.
McEachern said the players weren't left with much choice.
"We tried to do it quietly and nothing was going to change so we felt that we had to go this route," he said last night from Moncton, N.B.
"A lot of guys feel strongly about this."