Monday, March 22, 2004

One Interview, Two bombshells

Teemu Selanne may not be scoring many points this year on the ice, but in off ice media interviews he’s leading the league in bombshell announcements.

Selanne in an interview with Al Strachan of The Toronto Sun says, that in the moments following the Bertuzzi incident, he and some of his fellow players on the Avalanche bench discussed and apparently were in favour of leaving the ice. Feeling that GM Place was not a safe place to be at that moment, Selanne didn’t want to go back out. He even suggests that had the team decided to skate off and not finish the game, they would have had the full support of their GM Pierre Lacroix. He claims Lacroix had spoken to the refs about ending the game there and then, but they chose not to do so, finishing the remainder of the game without further incident.

Selanne also wondered aloud what was behind the rash of uncivilized behavior of late, suggesting that perhaps the use of Sudafed or ephedrine was resulting in players not thinking clearly, and not showing the proper respect that needs to be exhibited on the ice. He says that if they find that a dependence on drugs is leading to these incidents, then that’s something they need to address.

His approach on fighting took an unusual tactic as the well known pacifist sounded more like Don Cherry, claiming he had no problems with the one on one, face to face fights; they are part of the game. But the cheap shots, stick work and disregard for opposing players has to stop, before someone gets killed.
He wrapped up his interview by thinking aloud that perhaps the players’ association needed to take a more proactive approach to the situation. Explaining to its members, that the senseless forms of violence must end for the safety and well being of all members.

All points that should give Gary Bettman, more of a case of indigestion than he might already have these days. The specter of out of control violence, misuse of drugs and increased union involvement in the day to day issues of the league, all items that his Board of Governors won’t enjoy reading or hearing about. The regular season is about to end and instead of the fabulous exercise that is the playoffs, the off ice issues are grabbing all the headlines. Not a good indication of the state of the game these days.

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