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SBD Global/February 18, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies
NHL Involvement In Sochi Games 'Went Well,' But IOC Approaching With Caution
Published February 18, 2013
GETTING SUPPORT: Tampa Bay Lightning VP & GM Steve Yzerman said, "It's the biggest stage in the world to market our players. The Olympics is one time the world is watching, and I believe we want our players there because they are the best in the world" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 2/15). Philadelphia Flyers RW Jakub Voracek said, "I don't know why it's even a discussion why we shouldn't go to the Olympics. I could see if it was every year, but it's only every four years. I don't know why they couldn't work out the schedule right now. For most of us players, it's a dream come true to be an Olympian for your home country. I would be pretty sad if we couldn't." Flyers D Kimmo Timonen added, "Not just thinking about myself, it's good for hockey. Hockeywise, it's great, full rinks and people love hockey. As a player, if we can go there, I'm happy to do it." Flyers RW Claude Giroux said, "Obviously, it would be hard on your body, but you don't think twice about it" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 2/15). Vancouver Canucks G Corey Schneider said, "I think the fans want to see that. I think the players realistically would want to go do that. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I think we'd all be in favor of it." However, the AP's Dan Gelston wrote NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has "plenty of reasons to keep the NHL home next winter" (AP, 2/13).
ON THE FLIP SIDE...: Capitals coach Adam Oates wondered, "How do you feel if one of your players goes over and gets hurt?" In Washington, DC, Stephen Whyno notes while Oates "understands the value of Olympic participation to the promotion of hockey, he doesn’t believe NHL players belong there." Oates: "Is it good for hockey that they do it? Great. But I grew up trying to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs, not Team Canada. Didn’t even know it existed" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/15).
ON HOLD: In N.Y., Jeff Klein noted planning for the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team is "on hold until the NHL decides whether to send its players to the Sochi Games." USA Hockey Assistant Exec Dir of Hockey Operations Jim Johannson said that a GM and coach for the men's Olympic team "would be named after the Stanley Cup playoffs conclude at the end of June." But, he added that USA Hockey would "wait until the NHL made a decision 'before we make any moves along that line'" (N.Y. TIMES , 2/14).