Chris Chelios of the Detroit Red Wings and Dwayne Roloson of the Edmonton Oilers filed a lawsuit Monday against NHLPA executive director Ted Saskin and former union president Trevor Linden. Former player Trent Klatt is also one of the plaintiffs, asking the court to remove Saskin as executive director because they allege he has repeatedly violated the union's constitution along with Linden and other union members, "thus infringing upon the democratic rights of the players that the union represents," according to a release from the rebel group.
They say Saskin was "improperly elected, he misrepresented salary figures during negotiations, and he illegally diverted tens of millions of dollars in union funds for his own benefit."
Also named in the suit were St. Louis Blues winger Bill Guerin as well as former players Vincent Damphousse and Bob Boughner, all former members of the NHLPA's executive committee.
"Unfortunately, this lawsuit has become necessary after months of stonewalling by the union," Chelios said in statement. "On behalf of more than 100 NHL players, we continue to seek full disclosure by the NHLPA of the events leading up to Bob Goodenow's departure and the hijacking of the union by a handful of other players.
"We have repeatedly requested that Mr. Saskin agree to an investigation by an impartial third party and he has steadfastly refused to do so. We simply want to eliminate fraud within the players' union and restore democracy as provided by our constitution."
In Vancouver on Monday, Linden was left shaking his head over the suit.
"It's the same tired old allegations that we've seen for a year now," Linden said after a Canucks practice. "I'm tired of talking about it. The same allegations have been answered and explained. I think the players have a very good understanding of what went on and why."
Saskin was not available for comment Monday but the union issued a statement: "The NHLPA has not been served with a complaint, but we're confident that these reported allegations are without merit."
The suit, filed in U.S. Federal Court in the Northern District of Illinois, comes nearly three months after an NHLPA members meeting in Whistler, B.C., was seen as closing the chapter on the in-fighting.
At that meeting, Linden stepped down as president and the union elected an interim executive committee and formed a committee to revise the union's constitution.
Linden was asked Monday if he thought the issue had been dealt with during the meetings in Whistler.
"I thought it was over several times," he laughed. "I'm beyond frustrated. I'm passed it. We've been around these things for a year now. At some point you have to move on and realize we have a lot of great things to talk about and an exciting new season is at hand.
"It doesn't really affect me."
The moves in Whistler were designed to appease some dissidents who questioned the way the union made past decisions.
"I'm never satisfied," Chelios said in Whistler at the time. "But this is positive. It's a step in the right direction. Only time will tell what's going to happen."
"We want closure," he added. "That's been decided. It's a positive step what we're doing here. I love the fact that we're going to start from scratch."
Mathieu Schneider of the Red Wings, Kevyn Adams of the Carolina Hurricanes, Alyn McCauley of the Los Angeles Kings, Wade Redden and Daniel Alfredsson of the Ottawa Senators and Marty Turco of the Dallas Stars were elected to the interim committee. A new president has yet to be named.