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Friday, November 5, 2004
Flyers GM prods goalie to say he's sorry news services

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Robert Esche apologized to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman for calling him a "madman," according to Bob Clarke, the team's general manager.

Robert Esche

Clarke was embarrassed when Esche ripped the commissioner after attending an NHL Players' Association meeting in Toronto. Clarke said Thursday that he believed Esche was frustrated after attending the meeting, during which it was clear no progress was being made in the NHL lockout.

"I think there's a lot of great owners out there but there's a madman leading them down the wrong path," Esche said.

Clarke called Esche and told him it was fine to back his union but was disrespectful to Bettman to make his comments personal. Clarke said he asked -- but did not order -- Esche to apologize, and the goalie agreed.

"I think they got him after the meeting and he was all fired up and that was all," Clarke told the Philadelphia Daily News, which also reported that Esche said he didn't believe Bettman was even a fan of the game.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.