Though not nearly as skilled a Bettman-baiter as say, Barry Melrose Rocks, honorable mention must go to Red Wings D Chris Chelios (above), as quoted by the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James.

“I can’t believe my good friend Gary would want to leave me in Russia,” Chelios said, and it must be noted the “good friend” was deeply sarcastic. “I’d like to have a private talk with Gary one of these days, see what he means.”

Chelios was referring to the latest turn of events in the soap opera that debuted in the aftermath of the 2004-05 NHL lockout, starring Bettman, deputy commissioner Bill Daly and former NHL Players’ Association boss Ted Saskin. The Toronto Star published a story detailing leaked e-mails between the NHL and the union detailing a warm relationship between organizations that, after all, represent opposing sides. A portion of one e-mail in particular caught Chelios’ attention, when, in response to a missive from Saskin jokingly suggesting he may send Chelios to Russia for a meeting, Bettman e-mailed back, “with a one-way ticket?”

Chelios, who headed the party of players who succeeded in having Saskin removed from the union after his questionable ascension in 2005, said the recent events haven’t made him more disgusted about the affair because that’s not possible.

“I feel the same way about him (Bettman) and Daly and Saskin as I did from Day 1 — everyone knows how I feel about them,” Chelios said. “They didn’t play by the rules. If they get caught for something — we’ll see.”

Chelios also had harsh words for agent Don Meehan, whose clients among the Wings include Nicklas Lidstrom and Kris Draper.

“In my opinion, Donny Meehan played a role in undermining our union,” Chelios said. “He’s been involved in investments that were, to say the least, sketchy or shady. Now, with the e-mails we’ve looked at, and this is my opinion, he took a role with Daly and Bettman and Saskin. The players’ union was the least thing in his mind.”