In a profanity-laced rant at a news conference for Mario Lemieux's charity golf tournament Saturday, Flyers center Jeremy Roenick ripped into fans who have been critical of the NHL Players' Association throughout the current NHL lockout.
"If people are going to sit and chastise pro athletes for being cocky, they need to look at one thing and that's the deal we're going to be signing in about three weeks,'' Roenick said. "Pro athletes are not cocky. Pro athletes care about the game. Everybody out there who calls us spoiled because we play a game, they can kiss my a--.
"I will say personally, to everybody who calls us spoiled, you guys are just jealous. We're trying to get this thing back on the ice and make it better for the fans. If you don't realize that, then don't come. We don't want you in the rink, we don't want you in the stadium, we don't want you to watch hockey.''
Roenick also reiterated previous comments from last week where he lamented the union's failure to reach a deal in mid-February, which would have salvaged some of the 2004-05 season and would likely have resulted in a better deal for the players in the new collective bargaining agreement. A new CBA is expected to be signed within the next two weeks, but the salary-cap numbers being talked about were higher in February.
"If we would have signed that deal in February, in terms of what we're getting now, we would have looked like heroes,'' Roenick said. "Right now we look like a bunch of idiots. The deal in February beats the (expletive) out of the deal we're gonna sign in July.''
Roenick did admit players were not active enough in the negotiating process when there was a chance to salvage the season.
"It's unfortunate we had to go through a whole year to realize the s--- that was going on,'' Roenick said. "We've hurt our league, we've hurt the reputation of our league and the integrity of our league by sticking up for something that might not have been the right thing to do.''
Last week, Roenick said he was debating if he would even return to the NHL when it comes back.
"I have to see how my body reacts to some really, really, really hard training regimen here coming up in the latter part of the summer," Roenick told Sporting News Radio. "It's very hard to get motivated without a deal. Once that announcement comes, I think the motivational factor will definitely be lifted.
"I have not 100 percent made my decision to play, but to tell you the truth, I have a lot of drive in me and really, really want to continue."