TORONTO, OCT. 18 -- Veteran defenseman Borje Salming did not show up at Maple Leaf Gardens when the Maple Leafs skated yesterday morning, despite a public apology by team owner Harold Ballard.

Salming, 36, in his 15th season with the only NHL team he's ever played for, was sent home from Minnesota during a road trip last week after he and teammates Gary Leeman, Al Iafrate and Chris Kotsopoulos were evicted from the team's hotel because of excessive noise. All four have been fined by the team.

At 5 p.m. Saturday afternoon, Ballard, who had made critical comments in the media towards Salming during the preceding two days, issued a statement which said he'd conducted "a thorough investigation into the unfortunate situation."

Most of the players went out after a loss to the North Stars Wednesday night. When they returned to the hotel, several ordered food to one of the player's rooms.

While waiting, they played a game of basketball with a sponge ball. A complaint of noise was made and hotel security officers responded.

Ballard's statement followed by two hours the receipt by The Canadian Press of a statement by Salming that said he takes seriously his responsibilities as one of the leaders on the Maple Leafs.

"{Head coach -- John Brophy has stated that I have lost respect. I have certainly not lost my self-respect and I hope that I have not lost the respect of the Maple Leaf fans," the statement said.