Flyers' Snider Doesn't Hold Back, Calls League's Olympic-Related Hiatus "Ridiculous"
Flyers Chair Ed Snider on Thursday "could not have been more plain" regarding his feelings on the NHL's upcoming hiatus during the Sochi Games, calling it "ridiculous," according to Rich Hofmann of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. Snider said, "I don't care if it was in Philadelphia, I wouldn't want to break up the league (season). I think it's ridiculous to take 3 weeks off, or however long it is, in the middle of the season. It screws up everything." He acknowledged that he "does not know if a majority of NHL owners agree with him." Snider: "I haven't taken a poll. But how could anybody be happy breaking up your season? No other league does it. Why should we? There's no benefit to us whatsoever. If anything, I can only see negatives. The players want to play. The players association has a lot to say about it. As an owner, I think it's ridiculous" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 2/7). YAHOO SPORTS' Greg Wyshynski writes NHL owners have rarely "given voice to this sentiment as vehemently" as Snider did Thursday. There is "no question the Olympic break doesn’t add anything to Snider’s bottom line and it can be argued that breaking the League’s momentum for a month isn’t beneficial to the product." Wyshynski: "But does it hurt the fans? The ones who get to watch their favorite stars in an all-star tournament for three weeks before getting to watch the greatest playoff tournament in pro sports a scant two months later?" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/7). In Chicago, Steve Rosenbloom wrote under the header, "NHL At Olympics: Still Stupid After All These Years." The NHL "has shut down business at one of the best times for exposure before, but somehow going to the Olympics in Sochi this year seems worse" (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 2/5).
OH, CANADA: The AP's Dan Gelston notes Flyers C Claude Giroux was "snubbed Thursday by Hockey Canada" when Lightning RW Martin St. Louis was picked as an injury replacement for teammate Steven Stamkos on the Olympic team. Snider said of Giroux's exclusion, "It's a farce. He's one of the best players in the game. It's ridiculous. He's better than half the guys on that team. Anybody that thinks that Claude Giroux doesn't belong on the Canadian team, they don't know anything about hockey as far as I'm concerned. It's politics, to a certain degree." He added of Team Canada Exec Dir Steve Yzerman, who also is the GM of the Lightning, "He had to pick his own guy" (AP, 2/7). Snider did say that his comments came after a "very emotional night" Thursday. The Avalanche-Flyers game was "the first game since" former Flyers GM & coach Keith Allen died at the age of 90 (PHILLY.com, 2/7).
CLOSE QUARTERS: Canada Chef de Mission Steve Podborski said that speculation that members of the Canadian hockey team would sleep three to a room in Sochi "was a one-off, with the NHLers sleeping two to a room when they get" to the Olympic Village. He added, "They're two to a room. They'll be fine" (CP, 2/6). The GLOBE & MAIL's Eric Duhatschek notes players "used to luxury hotels and a choice of the world’s finest dining spots on the NHL circuit will arrive in an athletes village, where food is served cafeteria style and the beds are tiny and jammed into their rooms." The players' accommodations "will go from five-star to one-star in a hurry." However, most players "who’ve been at Olympics before speak of the value of staying in the athletes village -- and mingling with sportsmen and women from other countries" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/7).