Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tkachuk overweight

Tkachuk's teammates are displeased with the way the team has handled
him after failing his physical; alternate captain Doug Weight said
he's been punished enough.

Sportsnet.ca -- The NHL Players' Association has filed a grievance on
behalf of Keith Tkachuk after the star winger was suspended Friday by
the St. Louis Blues for failing his team physical.

NHLPA spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon said Monday the union filed the
grievance the same day as the suspension.

"We have disagreed with the suspension and are continuing to work at
resolving it," Tkachuk's agent, Bob Murray, said Monday from Boston.

"Hopefully we can find a quick and amicable resolution."

Blues general manager Larry Pleau had little to add Monday.

"There's really not much to say other than he didn't pass the physical
and he's suspended," Pleau said from St. Louis, adding that Tkachuk
can't come back until he passes the physical.

The Blues open the pre-season Wednesday at home against the Predators.

The 33-year-old power winger is the second-highest paid player in the
NHL at $7.6 million US, tied with Nicklas Lidstrom and Alexei Yashin
behind Jaromir Jagr's $8.36 million.

Murray doesn't understand why the Blues dealt with the situation in
the manner they did.

"I guess the more common approach has been, if they feel a guy has
come in and isn't properly conditioned they would bring him into camp
and have him do extra work," said Murray.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, on Monday, alternate captain
Doug Weight voiced his displeasure with the club's decision.

"He's been punished enough," Weight said. "I'm not always in agreement
with the authorities' choices, but it is what it is."

The Blues list Tkachuk at 231 pounds in their media guide, and while
he is rumoured to be as much as 25 pounds overweight, no one connected
with the team will confirm that.

"The fact is that (Tkachuk) let himself go a lot until February or
March and he's got a body that you can't do that," Weight said. "He
gets big fast. But he worked his butt off this year.

"He's overweight, yes, but he's in great shape, he's strong," Weight
added. "I wish they would've let him test because I'm sure he would
turn some heads with his strength."

Tkachuk, who is working out on his own in St. Louis, had 33 goals and
38 assists in 2003-04.

With files from the Canadian Press and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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