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October 5, 2004 - Flyer ends turbulence

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Flyer ends turbulence

Roenick makes peace, hints playing days might not be over

ENOUGH OF the war of words.

That was the feeling among Jeremy Roenick, Flyers chairman Ed Snider, general manager Bob Clarke and team captain Keith Primeau yesterday.

After a summer of stories in the media that painted Roenick in a contentious relationship with the Flyers' brass and his teammates, a situation that was beginning to become reminiscent of the days leading to the end of the Eric Lindros era, Roenick made peace yesterday.

And then he hinted that his playing days just might not be over yet.

"I said some stupid things this summer," Roenick said before flying from Philadelphia to Phoenix, where he is waiting out the NHL lockout with his family.

"I got caught in the moment and I was disrespectful to the Flyers and that was not right, and I had to set that right. I want to play for the Flyers - period - and I want to make sure everybody knows that I intend to be here when play starts back up again.

"It's not fair, the things I said. It wasn't right. I'm a big boy and I know when I said something really stupid and I did what I had to do to set things straight."

Roenick flew to Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon after completing a series of tests with concussion specialist Dr. Karen Johnston. Roenick underwent tests by the Flyers' medical staff yesterday morning and then met with Snider and Clarke for lunch.

Both Roenick and Clarke said they did not yet know the results of the tests, but Roenick said he is beginning to feel better and backed away from his retirement talk of the past few weeks.

"We don't have anything back yet," he said of the tests. "And I don't know when we'll get them. All summer I have not felt right but compared to how I felt in the beginning of the summer, it's been getting better.

"How long will it take before it clears up? Will there be a time when I can play again? I'm sure there will be. But my whole summer, and even now, my desire to play is very low.

"Maybe I'll still get a report back that says you probably shouldn't play anymore because the next hit is going to mess you up. How the hell do I know that?

"But if I do come back and play, it's important that everybody knows that I want to play for the Flyers. All the stuff with the concussions, it is what it is and until then the Flyers and me are going to do what's right. It's not going to become a war. We're going to decide what's right together."

This has been a difficult summer public-relations wise for Roenick. His name has been linked to gambling, and he has been quoted in radio and newspaper reports saying that he would love to leave the Flyers and play again in either Phoenix or Chicago.

Roenick has maintained that he didn't mean any of it, and in the case of Phoenix was just having fun on a radio talk show and in Chicago he was only responding to crowd fanfare at a baseball game.

Relations between the Flyers and their star center became really strained when he announced last month he was going to Montreal to see Dr. Johnston and that he was still feeling the effects of a 10th concussion suffered in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against Tampa Bay.

Questions arose over Roenick being entitled to his full $7.5 million salary if tests determined that he would not have been able to play if the league had begun on time.

Clarke followed those stories by saying the Flyers had no documented evidence that Roenick had suffered the concussion in question and he had been given a clean bill of health during his end- of-the-season physical.

The stories and the things Roenick said over the summer had aggravated Clarke.

Yesterday, however, all was forgiven.

"Everything is fine," Clarke said. "It was a good meeting. We just explained each other's sides and it was good to get everything out on the table."

Snider also attended the lunch meeting but could not be reached for comment. Snider, however, attended the Sixers media day yesterday morning and talked about Roenick.

"I'm waiting for the medical reports," Snider said of the extensive testing Roenick underwent this weekend. "I'm a big fan of Jeremy Roenick's. We'll do what's right for him."

Snider called the gambling reports "nothing" and said it was blown way out of proportion.

"Jeremy doesn't have any kind of gambling addiction," Snider said. "He's a great guy. There's no problem."

In addition to meeting with Clarke and Snider, Roenick also called Primeau. Primeau said the team was bothered by Roenick talking about playing somewhere else and said yesterday he was happy to put it all behind them.

"The thing is, we all know [Roenick]," Primeau said. "We know his personality, his makeup and we take it with a grain of salt. He called me and apologized and it was a message he wanted me to relay to the other guys, and as far as we're concerned it's over.

"He said he wants to play again. He's still not back to normal and I can feel for him in that regard. I know that feeling," said Primeau, who suffered two concussions last season and is just now getting over the effects.

"I thanked him for calling. We want him to be himself. But sometimes the things he says affect the guys and it's important that he recognizes that and that he's big enough to apologize. The guys will be glad."