Bill Peters’ statement offers ‘sincere apology’ to Flames, ‘anyone negatively affected’

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Bill Peters released a statement in the form of a letter to Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving on Wednesday regarding Akim Aliu’s claims that Peters made racist remarks toward Aliu during Peters’ and Aliu’s time with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs.

Sportsnet’s Eric Francis and TSN’s Bob McKenzie ranked among those who received Peters’ letter/statement, which you can see at the bottom of this post. Here’s a full transcription of Peters’ letter to Treliving and the Flames, which also included Peters’ signature:

Brad:

Please accept this as a sincere apology to you, and the entire Calgary Flames organization, for offensive language I used in a professional setting a decade ago. I know that my comments have been a source of both anger and disappointment, and I understand why. Although it was an isolated and immediately regrettable incident, I take responsibility for what I said.

The statement was made in a moment of frustration and does not reflect my personal values. After the incident, I was rightfully challenged about my use of language, and I immediately returned to the dressing room to apologize to the team. I have regretted the incident since it happened, and I now also apologize to anyone negatively affected by my words.

I am aware that there is no excuse for language that is offense. I meant no disrespect for what I said, and it was not directed at anyone in particular. But that doesn’t matter; it was hurtful and demeaning. I am truly sorry.

I accept the reality of my actions. I do believe that we must strive to act with integrity, and to take accountability for what we say and do. This letter is intended to do exactly that; I hope it is is accepted as intended.

I appreciate the thorough review of this situation being undertaken by the Flames. It’s the right thing to do, and I support it fully.

Sincerely,

Bill Peters

There is a lot to take away from that statement/letter.

  • The first party receiving an apology is “you [Treliving] and the entire Flames organization.”
  • Akim Aliu is not mentioned by name. The closest you could say is a blanket apology to “anyone negatively affected by my [Peters’] words.”
  • Peters claims his “offensive language” was “not directed at anyone in particular.”
  • Peters also states that, when called out for his “use of language,” he immediately returned to the Rockford IceHogs’ dressing room to “apologize to the team.”
  • There’s no mention of Peters’ time with the Carolina Hurricanes. Former Hurricanes player Michal Jordan accused Peters of kicking and punching players during games, claims that current Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour corroborated as “for sure happened” on Wednesday.

Here’s part of Aliu’s comments on Twitter, which Aliu then expanded upon to TSN’s Frank Servalli.

Again, Peters addressed the incident, but didn’t mention Aliu by name, and also claimed that the comments weren’t directed “at anyone in particular.”

This process still appears to be ongoing, as the Flames and/or NHL continue to investigate claims. As Eric Macramalla details for Forbes, a possible firing situation would become more complicated if Calgary is hoping to fire Peters with just cause, with millions possibly on the line. It’s unclear if those factors played into how Peters’ statement was worded.

Peters was not on the Flames’ bench during the team’s 3-2 overtime win against the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.