Roenick apologizes to Chelios for Babcock comments
San Jose Sharks forward Jeremy Roenick apologized to Detroit defenceman Chris Chelios for comments he made Thursday suggesting coach Mike Babcock wasn't playing Chelios because he disliked American players.
"J.R. is J.R.," Chelios said, noting that Roenick phoned to apologize for the remarks he made on a Chicago morning radio show. "The NHL would be boring without J.R."
As far as Roenick's accusations were concerned, Chelios said there was "nothing to it" and that he's never had any problems with Babcock, who is originally from Canada.
"Like every other coach, it's all business," Chelios said. "The only problem I've had with a coach is Mike Keenan, but he liked confrontations.''
Babcock admitted the whole episode left a bad taste in his mouth.
"It bothered me, because it's a blatant lie,'' he said.
Roenick stirred controversy earlier Thursday with his comments on The Monsters in the Morning radio show on Comcast Sportsnet in Chicago.
"The coach just doesn't like him," Roenick said on the program. "I think he's got a grudge against American players. If you knew some of the things that Babcock says to Chris, it would make your stomach churn.
"Just total disrespect for not just one of the best Americans but one of the best defencemen to ever play the game."
Roenick and Chelios were teammates in Chicago from 1990 to 1996 and have played together numerous times on Team USA during international competitions.
Chelios has no points and is minus-1 in four playoff games during the Red Wings' run this year.