J.R. says he's sorry

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

Who shot down J.R.?

Obviously someone within the 700-plus membership of the NHLPA did.

Why else would Jeremy Roenick, one of the loudest critics of his own union over the past few months, step up in front of about 150 of his brethren yesterday and say he was sorry?

"I got up and apologized for any statements I made publicly," Roenick confirmed during an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Even though I am an outspoken and have strong beliefs, there are places to do that."

Roenick has called for a salary cap without linkage, public statements which embittered many players. But the refreshingly outspoken Philadelphia Flyers forward accepted any subsequent criticism for his stance as he faced the music during yesterday's NHLPA meeting, the first he has attended in 10 years.

"There were people on me and I was fine with it," Roenick said.

"I was in favour of helping both sides get a deal done. It didn't get done and that frustrates the hell out of me. It's very frustrating to know this may drag on another year.

"I came out of the meeting with a different outlook and very strong feelings on where everybody stands."

INDEPENDENTLY

Various reports suggested Roenick, teammate Robert Esche, St. Louis Blues defenceman Chris Pronger and Calgary Flames forward Jarome Iginla were part of a group that acted independently in a effort to spur a new collective bargaining agreement.

For his part, Iginla insisted there was no agenda to undermine union president Trevor Linden and the rest of the negotiating committee.

"No one was being detrimental to the committee," Iginla said. "We have a lot of confidence in them.

"At the time, players were being encouraged to talk. Management was calling players. It would have been easy to hang up on them but that's not the polite or right thing to do.

"There was (subsequent) talk people had lost confidence in (the committee) but that was not the case."

Unfortunately, that was the perception their efforts created.

"I don't think it was helpful to the process," Linden said. "Unfortunately, it probably sent the wrong message to the other side but, at the same time, their intentions were to help the process."


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