CALGARY, FEB. 17 -- Roone Arledge, the president of ABC News who is once again directing his network's Winter Olympic coverage, said today he expects more controversy over missed coverage of live events -- particularly hockey -- because of commercial obligations.

"We're going to miss some goals," he told about 15 journalists in his office at the ABC complex this afternoon. "It's not that they {the viewing audience} won't see it; they just won't see it live.

"The whole Olympics is a balancing act. There's a reason hockey is not on network commercial television, because most people don't follow it. They talk about 94 to 95 percent capacity in the arenas, but most of those people are always there. The purists get annoyed {when announcers offer basic information, like explanations of icing the puck} -- you don't have to tell me that -- but a lot of people don't know much about the sport.

"The people who wanted to watch hockey didn't want us to show Pirmin Zurbriggen, which I considered to be a great moment in Olympic history. I disagree. Imagine the reaction of the people interested in skiing if this incredible run had not gotten on. I wouldn't change that."

He said he has no solution to the problem, other than "to tell the truth . . . It's absolutely sheer luck. You cannot predict a goal in hockey. You can be away for two seconds and miss a goal, or you can be away 10 minutes and miss nothing . . . The odds are, if you have to get in as many commercials as we do, you'll miss some goals. You have to treat it like the guy who makes the long putt while you're off. You tape it and show it as soon as you come back."

Despite all those commercials, ABC is expected to lose as much as $50 million for the Games, which it bought for $309 million. Despite that expected loss, Arledge said he has no regrets about the network's decision to televise these Games.

"We offered too much, though we didn't know it at the time," he said. "It's probably good, the image {having the Olympics} . . . If you're going to lose money, what better way than to do something of global importance that captivates the nation. It's great for morale, it gives us a sense of purpose and you discover people . . . It's a wonderful caldron, a crucible a department goes through."

Arledge, who said he has not had hands-on involvement with ABC Sports for 1 1/2 years, said he was fulfilling a promise to the board of directors of ABC's parent company, Capital Cities Communications, by handling these Games.

Asked if this would be his last Olympics, he said: "I said Los Angeles was. Who knows?"

The network, he said, has also been pleased with the early ratings. As he was speaking, an aide handed him a note saying that the number of households watching Tuesday night, 22.59 million, was an all-time record for a Winter Olympics telecast.

Arledge said he was never in favor of having the Games run over three weekends, a first for the Winter Olympics. "We had no choice," he said. "They {the IOC} set it that way to get more money from TV . . . We were opposed to it."