How to stop teams from holding back their players

Discussion in 'International Tournaments' started by Mr Kanadensisk, Jan 31, 2006.

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  1. Mr Kanadensisk

    Mr Kanadensisk Registered User

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    Before Vancouver 2010 Betman is going to have to figure out a way to stop teams from holding back their players from participating in the Olympics. I think Gary realizes that a strong Olympic tournament is an extremely valuable way to promote the NHL product.
    The problem is that some individual clubs will act in their own interest first, and hold people back in order to get a step up on their competition. It really bugs me that some teams and players would use the Olympic break as a chance to rest and take advantage of the fact that most of the other teams stars are playing in the tournament.

    Here are two things I suggest they do:

    1) If a player is selected by their national team, but refuses to go based on injuries, etc., then they must sit out at least four NHL games, the two prior to and the two following the Olympic break. The idea being that NHL teams would actually encourage their players to go, so they don't miss any regular season games.

    2) Pay players bonus's for going to the Olympics. At first this might seem contrary to the Olympic ideal, but consider that many nations already do this with their athletes, and also consider it advertising money well spent. This just adds another incentive for the players to go.
     
  2. Phanuthier*

    Phanuthier* Guest

    ... if I'm on the Board of Directors, I'd fire Gary Bettman if he did that.

    The decision to go to the Olympics was a joint partnership between a decision by the NHL team's Board of Directors, NHLPA and IIHF. This was a decision that individual team's owners made, and if Gary Bettman did something stupid like implament that, I'd recommend another commisioner for the NHL.
     
  3. NHL teams aren't "technically" holding back players. A player could go if he truly wanted to go, and there is nothing an NHL team could do about it.

    However, one has to believe that NHL teams are subtly trying to coax players into skipping the Olympics.

    It is up to the players then to turn around, and tell their respective teams to take a hike.

    I know I would tell my NHL team to take a hike if I was picked for an Olympic team and they tried to talk me out of playing. But I can also understand why some players are hesitant about doing so, especially players who are on playoff teams and thus don't want to risk an injury forcing them out of the playoffs.
     
  4. Phanuthier*

    Phanuthier* Guest

    I think that's what he means.

    If they were actually holding them back - which is basically impossible - players could file lawsuit. However, if a player is injured and wanted to play against the teams will, they could be suspended by the team.
     
  5. Jazz

    Jazz Registered User

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    It would depend on the severity of the injury, and also just plain common sense.

    If a player has a slight strain, but is playable, then there is nothing a team can (nor should) do if the player is willing to go. If is is far more serious, then the player is just plain stupid (but I don't think we will any examples of that...)

    As soon as some of the owners get their heads out of their butts and think what is good for the league (ie global exposure) vs the short-term the better off the NHL will be...
     
  6. Jussi

    Jussi Registered User

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    One thing that might help is that the players need to show a little backbone. If a cornerstone of a team, such as Kipper or Kari Lehtonen said that they're going to the Olympics or you (the team) can forget about me re-signing with you after this season. Now in KIipper's case I realize that he's injured so it might be better for him to rest (not just the Olympics though). But the schedule in Turin is not so grueling that Kari Lehtonen couldn't take part. Kari's still young and doesn't realize that he's without him Atlanta would be screwed in goal, and that it would be best for them not piss him off.
     
  7. Mr Kanadensisk

    Mr Kanadensisk Registered User

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    You would think the Board would do what's best for the league. The lockout was the perfect example. After all, it was not really about the players vs the owners, it was about the owners saving themselves from each other.

    I know how bad Calgarians want the Flames to win the cup, but remember that every fan in the league wants their team to win. Using the break to rest Kipper, while all the other top goalies are going, just doesn't seem right to me.
     
  8. SChan*

    SChan* Guest

    bobby clark is trying his best to stop forsberg even if healthy, and some say that olympics is a meaningless tournament, but it's not.
    In a small country like sweden this is a big deal. the swedish newspapers follow forsberg everyday here. It's first page news.

    I am begining to understand how lindros felt.
     
  9. Wetcoaster

    Wetcoaster Guest

    Yes and that other archfiend GM Dave Nonis in Vancouver, even forced Jovanovski back on the ice early so he could re-aggravate his abdominal injury and require surgery making him unavailable to Team Canada.

    Something must be done - take away Nonis' frequent customer card for Tim Horton doughnuts perhaps?
     
  10. therealdeal

    therealdeal Registered User

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    Both terrible ideas.

    If a player can't play, he can't play, its time to get over it guys.
     
  11. Canuck21t

    Canuck21t Registered User

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    I for one am thanking Dave Nonis for this.
     
  12. Canuck21t

    Canuck21t Registered User

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    I don't buy that any NHL club is pulling a players back at all. All that is needed is to the player to say "I WANT to represent my country, it's extremely important to me" and everything would stop there. The club may suggest something but the ultimate decision goes to the player and nobody can stop him. It is obvious to me that Kipper has weighted the pros and cons and decided not to play. If he really wanted to play for Finland, he would.
     
  13. Phanuthier*

    Phanuthier* Guest

    The Board will do what's best for the league from a financial standpoint, not for the overall good. That was what the lockout was about.

    One playoff series makes about $1 million in revenue... if the risk is missing the playoffs, will a owner want to give up $1 million + ? Unlikely.

    Just the same, I guess it doesn't feel right that other team's goalies are sitting while top players are going? This isn't an argument you want to go into.
     
  14. Mr Kanadensisk

    Mr Kanadensisk Registered User

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    Actually, let's go there. The Wings won the cup in 98 and 02, and I think you'll find they actually sent more players to each of those Olympics than any other NHL team. I think you would find that the Olympians from those tournaments, on average, played even better in the second half of the NHL season and playoffs.

    But if you believe that players are better sitting out the tournament, take solace in the fact that only Pittsburgh, Phoenix, and Chicago are sending less players to Turin than the Flames.
     
  15. GKJ

    GKJ Global Moderator

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    If Gary Bettman would have it his way...they wouldn't go to the Olympics at all....
     
  16. Hunter Gathers

    Hunter Gathers ordinary corrupt human love Sponsor

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    If I had my way, they wouldn't be going at all either.
     
  17. Dr Love

    Dr Love Registered User

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    Ridiculous. A number of would-be Olympians are nursing groin injuries that have bothered them all year. The three weeks off the Olympics gives them will allow them to heal, they shouldn't be penalized for healing injuries. Sami Kapanen has something like three separate injuries. Kim Johnsson has a concussion. You want to suspend them 4 games for not risking losing the rest of the season to injury?

    Who pays? Certainly not the teams, or that's a bigger reason to try to hold them back. And the NHL isn't going to shell out the money, it's in their best interest for the players to stay home and not get hurt.
     
  18. SwisshockeyAcademy

    SwisshockeyAcademy Registered User

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    How about asking players to not get hurt. That is how we can stop players from not going. Mission impossible due to the nature of the game. The World Cup of soccer will have its casualties as well , I only worry about who is there. I do not think one second about injured players or players withdrawing for other reasons. It is not like a video game where you can choose the very best for a tourney and they are as fresh as daisies. Gabriel Heinze will struggle to get back for Argentina. Owen will need to regain his fitness for England.
     
  19. Phanuthier*

    Phanuthier* Guest

    Maybe the country should pay them. Or the bright guy that comes up with that idea.

    Gary Bettman weights in:

    http://tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=153343&hubname=nhl

    We, as an accommodation to the Olympics, take a break.

    Bettman said that, while players understand the significance of playing in the Olympics, they aren't willing to jeopardize their NHL careers to do so.

    "Yes, the Olympics are important," said Bettman. "But players are in the middle of important careers. This is where they make their livelihood, and as much as we're happy to go to the Olympics, for us, the Stanley Cup's the most important thing."

    "When owners are concerned about players playing in the Olympics when they're injured, that's a legitimate concern," said Bettman. "From our standpoint and from our players' standpoint, our season is the most important (thing)."

    Looks like the guy at the healm knows what's important and what's not.
     
  20. Jazz

    Jazz Registered User

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    Of course the NHL season is more important. What else is Bettman going to say, and I agree with him 100%.

    However, if a player is injured now, he should be resting now. Markus Naslund skipped the game last Saturday vs Colorado to take 4 days off. I don't see how he could not have taken the game vs Phoenix on Tuesday so he could have had 8 days between games, and then seen how his groin/hip responded?

    At least the Canucks management did not put any pressure on Naslund to not go (same with Burke in Anaheim with Scott Niedermayer). They should be applauded for that, especially in comparison to the archaic attitude shown by Bob Clarke with Forsberg.

    I'm sorry, but the arguement about GMs and management should be able to pressure their players to not rest during the NHL season, but to rest during the Olympics because the NHL teams pay their salaries does not hold water in this case, and the reason is the CBA. The Owners, in getting virtually everything else they wanted, gave the Players Olympic participation, and thus the right for the player to have this as 100% his decision.

    In addition, the NHL is suspending it's season for this tournament (ie, it is a NHL-NHLPA-IIHF tournament), and thus because the league made a corporate decision to go (to expose the game on a global scale), it should do everything possible to ensure all of it's best players are there (if they are not injured at the time the tournament starts).

    In any tournament that the NHL has no stake in (such as the World Championships), then they are free to block whomever they choose if the reason (ie, injury) warrants.
     
  21. Mr Kanadensisk

    Mr Kanadensisk Registered User

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    Who do you think forced him to break for Turin? It certainly wasn't the players after the last round of negotiations. Gary swore that there was no problem with the NHL product back in the hook and hold days. I don't think he always tells the truth. If he didn't see a huge upside for his league, the players would not be going.

    Obviously player bonuses would have to come from league wide revenues, look at it like an advertising expense.

    If star players start to use the Olympics for a rest period, the tournament will lose its appeal, and the NHL will just stop going. If you don't want NHLers in the Olympics, then I guess you don't care. This tournament is the only international tournament that both the North Americans and Europeans care about, and in the "elite 7" the skill level is WAY better than any NHL team.
     
  22. Raimo Sillanpää

    Raimo Sillanpää Registered User

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    What I wonder is what will the IOC think about star players skipping the games by the boatload. Will they want future such scenarios? Presumably not, so what will they do? Find a way to make an agreement that its full strenght teams, thats it, and everyone gets checked up by neutral (non-team) doctors? accept their fate as in to holding semi-full strenght teams or decide to rather just invite non pro's only like it used to be?

    I presume the IOC would want the full motley crew or none at all, the buh-illions of tv money it gets for the games means the stations who payed for it will be disappointed.. so fingers will point in every which way, especially if the viewerships are disappointing.
     
  23. Macman

    Macman Registered User

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    Hey, this is what happens when you have a tournament in the middle of the hockey season. Countries either have the depth to deal with the inevitable injuries or not. In a strange way, it may be an even truer gauge of hockey supremacy than when everybody is healthy. Or it may simply prove that the World Cup really IS the better tournament.
     
  24. stanley

    stanley Registered User

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    The NHL and PA have an agreement allowing players to participate in the Olympics. Owners and organization representatives can protest, but they should check with the agreement they collectively "signed." That being written, the players should have some sort of accountability for their decision to play. Their respective employers have invested significant money in these guys, and have a legitimate claim regarding injured players.

    Theoretically, we'd all probably be better off not having NHL players participate in the Olympics, since it's become apparent that participation is not complete. In other words, having "the best players in the world on one stage" is not exactly what this is turning out to be, sort of like a keg party at 9 AM (not everyone will show, anticipated braggard hyperbole from HF members not withstanding).

    I suspect this is how it will continue to happen, which isn't the end of the world. It's just something that will have to be handled, and just fodder for us to chat about. Luckily, the league and PA have an agreement that circumvents the individual organizations. Now THAT would create a hairy situation.
     
  25. jekoh

    jekoh Registered User

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    There were just as many players who pulled out of the World Cup.
     
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