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?
This hasn’t been the best night for St. Louis sports fans.
Obviously, the MLB’s Cardinals getting bounced from the playoffs is a bigger deal, but the Blues face bad news, too.
While they’re currently leading the Calgary Flames by a score of 4-3, they’ll need to hang on without Kevin Shattenkirk, whose night is over thanks to a lower-body injury.
There’s no word yet on how severe the issue might be.
Naturally, the Blues must hope that it’s minor, as Shattenkirk is one of the NHL’s truly underrated assets on the blueline.
Stephanie (@MyRegularFace) tracked down a moment when the injury may have happened:
It’s not all rosy for the Flames, either, as Lance Bouma suffered an injury as well.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.