Capitals head coach Adam Oates doesn’t think NHL players belong in the Olympics.
“You know what, I don’t. I don’t. My honest answer is no,” Oates said Wednesday, per the Washington Post. “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.”
Oates’ opinion places him in the minority among players, fans and media. And his comments are a bit of a head-scratcher given his captain, Alex Ovechkin, can’t wait to suit up for Russia in Sochi next year.
Oates did admit that it was different for European players — “they grew up trying to play for their country, so it’s a different animal.”
But while playing internationally may not have been a major aspiration for North American kids when Oates, 50, was growing up, surely things have changed now with professionals participating in the Olympics and the growth of tournaments like the World Juniors.
For example, here’s Leafs prospect Morgan Rielly when he found out he made Canada’s World Juniors squad:
“As a kid growing up in Canada, you’re always watching the tournament around Christmastime and when you see that you’re going to get the opportunity to play for Team Canada it’s a great feeling. It’s just a dream come true.”
Oates, by the way, never represented Canada internationally; he reportedly declined invitations to focus on his pro career.
Related: How do Team USA, Canada, Russia look a year before the Olympics?
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.