Philadelphia Flyers' Blair Betts (11) celebrates his second-period goal with James van Riemsdyk (21) during an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010. The Montreal Canadiens have returned Betts to the Philadelphia Flyers after the veteran centre they claimed off waivers last week was found to be damaged goods. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
MONTREAL - The Montreal Canadiens have returned Blair Betts to the Philadelphia Flyers after the veteran centre they claimed off waivers last week was found to be damaged goods.
The Canadiens used NHL by-law 11.8 (a) to send the 31-year-old back to Philadelphia after he failed a medical exam, the league announced Sunday.
Commissioner Gary Bettman made the decision after reviewing submissions from both teams.
''While it is clear that both clubs have acted in good faith in this unique situation (i.e. a waiver claim), I am not prepared to dispute the conclusion of the Montreal club doctors that Mr. Betts was physically unfit to play at the time of the claim,'' Bettman said in a statement. ''Therefore, it is my decision that, per league by-laws, the appropriate resolution to this matter is to restore the parties to the position they were in prior to the waiver claim on Oct. 5.''
The by-law states a player claimed on waivers may be returned if he is deemed to be physically unfit.
Betts, who is to earn US$700,000 this season, has had problems with his right shoulder in recent years and had surgery in June, 2010. But he returned to play 75 games last season.
He was expected to play in the Canadiens season-opener Thursday night in Toronto. But on the day of the game he was scratched from the lineup in order to undergo a physical exam.
The Edmonton native told reporters his shoulder problems were behind him, but he had a lower body injury and did not expect to be out of action for long.
Andreas Enqvist was called up from AHL Hamilton to take his spot at centre on the fourth line.
The Canadiens also expect to have centre Lars Eller back from a shoulder injury later this week.