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October 6, 2004 - Roenick, Primeau at ease

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Roenick, Primeau at ease
By WAYNE FISH
phillyBurbs.com

MEDFORD, N.J. - Ultimately, the only people Jeremy Roenick really had to apologize to were his teammates.

After telling the Flyers' ownership and management on Monday that he was sorry for recent comments he made pertaining to his future playing status, Roenick called team captain Keith Primeau on the phone that same night to voice similar sentiments.

Primeau said he accepts the apology and believes no irreparable damage has been done between Roenick and the rest of the Flyers.

Of course, it's all a rather bizarre situation because both the game of hockey and Roenick's health situation are in sort of a holding pattern at the moment.

The NHL, which was scheduled to start next week, is in a lockout, and Roenick, plagued by the aftereffects of a concussion, needs to be cleared by doctors before he can entertain notions of playing again.

"I thanked him for the call because I thought it was important that he let the players know what his feelings are,'' Primeau said after a workout at a suburban rink with several teammates on Tuesday.

"They come to me and I tell them, 'I know as much as you do because I haven't spoken to him all summer.' He was very apologetic, he understands that he says things at times that pop into his head. And we accept JR for that.''

A source on the Flyers said Roenick had campaigned in public over the summer, letting known a desire to play in either Phoenix or Chicago, the other two NHL teams for which he previously played.

Apparently that was all a misunderstanding.

"It was important that he cleared the air with the guys in the locker room because the sense was that he didn't want to be a part of what we were creating,'' Primeau said. "That was disheartening, but he assured me that this is where he wants to be. He wants to finish his career as a Flyer.

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"That's important in order for us to move ahead.''

All Primeau had known about the situation was what he had picked up through the media. He wanted to hear directly from Roenick.

"Until you hear it from the horse's mouth, it's all speculation,'' Primeau said. "You can take half of what JR says and throw it out. And accept half of it for what it's worth.

"But it was getting to the point where if he didn't try and rectify it ... if he had a true passion, a true sense that he wanted to return to Philadelphia, then he was going to have to extend an olive branch. That's what he's done. Now it's a closed chapter.''

Todd Fedoruk, one of Roenick's closest friends in the locker room, gave the impression he was relieved by the act of contrition.

"I don't want him to burn bridges here,'' Fedoruk said. "Ultimately, it does come up to the player whether he wants to play here or not.

"I haven't had a chance to talk to him. JR's a good buddy of mine and I want to see him help us win a (Stanley) Cup. He's a big part of our team. When you get involved with management and stuff, you can burn your bridges.''

Roenick claims he spoke before thinking and wants both the front office and his teammates to know it wasn't personal, according to Fedoruk.

"JR's a pretty honest guy and wouldn't do anything to hurt the organization,'' Fedoruk said. "Hopefully it will all get worked out."