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Posted - 02/10/2006 :  09:13:02  Show Profile
When someone gets hired by a company, the first criteria a corporation would like to see in an employee is loyalty. Understandably so, they are the ones signing the cheques. Well, in the NHL, this is not always the case. We are seeing players wanting to play for their countries in the Olympics despite being injured. I believe a player should consider his NHL team number 1 when it comes to deciding whether to play internationally. If you are not healthy enough to play for your own team, why play for the national team of your country?

Take the case of Peter Forsberg for example. Here is a guy that has missed around 15 games this season due to groin problems and is currently on the shelf due to the same problem. Well, he still hasnít ruled out playing in the Olympics next week. Yes, next week. Yesterday, he practiced and suffered a setback. Itís no wonder Ed Snyder, the owner of Flyers, is publicly saying that he would prefer that his high paid star take the Olympic break off and heal his injury properly. Itís a big investment and he has not signed Forsberg so that he can miss NHL time after the Olympics are done with. Peter Forsberg should decline the invite and show loyalty to his team.

Scott Niedermayer declined today to play for Team Canada next week. Markus Naslund declined to play for Team Sweden a week ago. Both players are healthy enough to play for their current NHL teams but they realize that their respective teams are paying for their salaries, that the players on their teams are looking for them to lead them. For Naslund, it was probably a really hard decision: he has not won anything, nothing, nada. And he might just be too old for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

As for the fans, they would prefer having their players rest and nurse their injuries instead of going to the Olympics and reinjuring themselves and making the injuries even more serious. Take the case of Mario Lemieux at the 2002 Olympics. He was hurt, could barely skate but yet played in the Olympics. He never played another game for the Penguins that year. Imagine being a season ticket holder who made that purchase to see Mario play only to see him go to the Olympics and not play another game that season.

The Olympic competition is intense, with lots of games in a short period of time. That has to be taxing on your body. The teams who do not have players going to Torino are far better off. They will have fresh players after the break.

But the Olympic break brings up another issue: The NHL schedule is way too condensed. Next time they have the players in the competition, they should reduce the number of games to 72. But try convincing the owners!

Teams first, countries second.

As for me, I will be watching the Olympic hockey competition closely. Go Canada Go!

Frederic Lajeunesse
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1755 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2006 :  13:59:45  Show Profile
don't forget Kiprosoff. He declined so that he could rest. Although he didn't specify any injury he said he needed the break.
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