Following last night's win over the Colorado Avalanche, Flyers owner Ed Snider got in front of a bunch of reporters and said some things. After answering a couple of questions about the late Keith Allen and the way the Flyers are playing right now, Snider went off about the Olympics for a while. He's not very pleased about them. The entire transcript below is courtesy of the Flyers' PR department. Questions in bold, Snider's responses in normal font.
Q: Emotional night for you?
Snider: "Yeah, very emotional. Keith was a dear friend and I'm just awfully sorry about how his life ended. He went through some tough times over the last several years. But I think he's in a better place, like I said. He was a great friend and a great guy."
What did he mean to this organization?
"He was this organization. He's the guy that hired Fred Shero, he's the guy that drafted the players that won the Cups for us. He is in the Hall of Fame, but despite that fact, I think he's not gotten the kind of accolades that he deserves because I never remember a trade that he made that was a bad trade. The guy was sensational and our players loved him. He was a nice guy; he did what he had to do in the right way. I can't say enough about him."
How about your hockey club going into the Olympic Break and where they are right now?
"I love where we are right now. I think we're playing extremely well. I'm excited about the team. I think our goaltending is outstanding. I think the way we're playing and the system that Craig Berube has instituted is outstanding and I've got my fingers crossed. We're going to play a lot of tough teams after the Olympic break in March, but we're home a lot of the time and I've got my fingers crossed that we'll do a good job."
Are you surprised that Claude didn't get picked by Team Canada?
"Well it's a farce. He's one of the best players in the league. It's ridiculous. He's better than half the guys on that team."
Your team doesn't have a lot of Olympic players on the top Olympic teams. Why do you think that is?
"There's a lot of good players to pick from and I'm proud of the five guys that are on the Olympic teams. I mean, they may not be great teams, but they're great players and they're in the Olympics. We don't pick them but 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. But it's politics to a certain degree. He had to pick his own guy, and his own guy is good, but Claude is better."
If I had my way, we'd never go to the Olympics. We're the only league that breaks up our season. Basketball plays in the winter, but they play Olympics in the summer. It's ridiculous. The whole thing's ridiculous.
Is that only when it's on the other side of the world, or any time?
I don't care if it was in Philadelphia, I wouldn't want to break up the league. I think it's ridiculous to take three weeks off or however long it is in the middle of the season. It screws up everything.
Would you like to see a return to the World Cup format?
I'd like to see anything other than the Olympics. I mean, I hate ‘em.
Do you think most of the league agrees with you at this point?
I don't know. I haven't taken a poll, but how can anybody be happy breaking up your season? No other league does it. Why should we?
Originally you did it because you thought there'd be a benefit on the back end, but you haven't seen that at all?
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.
Was this a point of contention [during the work stoppage]?
No. There was no point of contention. The players wanted to play and the league agreed. But as an owner, I personally don't like it. It's not good for our fans, it's not good for our league, it changes the momentum... everything about it is wrong.
You went to the Finals the last time there was a break...
Well, maybe I like it. I forgot about that.
A couple of quick thoughts regarding Ed's statements here:
* The statement that Giroux is "better than half the guys on [Team Canada]" is correct, at least in this admittedly somewhat biased observer's opinion. I'm not as annoyed about Martin St. Louis being chosen to replace Steven Stamkos on the roster as some; personally, I thought St. Louis should have been there from the start, and I'd have been stunned if Steve Yzerman -- his own general manager -- had decided to skip over him again. But we're talking about the guy who's the fourth-highest-scoring Canadian forward in the four seasons since the last Olympics, who is also a guy who plays great defense, can play at the wing and on the penalty kill, and has been on a total tear since December began. It is ridiculous that Giroux is not on the roster compared to some of the other guys on the roster.
* Now, all of that said, as some were quick to point out ... Ed, if you hate the Olympics so much, why exactly is it that you're so mad about your franchise player not going there?
If Ed Snider thinks the NHL going to the Olympics is stupid, why is he so pissed about Claude Giroux not being there?— Adam Gretz (@AGretz) February 7, 2014
Ed Snider, very angry that a player he loves isn't participating in a tournament he hates.— Sean Gentille (@seangentille) February 7, 2014
I think Giroux 100 percent deserves to be there, but I see the positives of him not being there, so I'd imagine that Snider can as well, given how much he hates the damn things.
* I know that Olympic participation for NHL players is a controversial topic, and people feel strongly both ways for it. Personally, I think it's great that players get the chance to do this. But I'm not an NHL owner who sees the obvious risk in having several of his players playing in a tournament across the world for three weeks. The players are the ones who push for participation in the Olympics, of course. It seemed like a formality throughout this past summer that they'd be cleared to participate in Sochi. Seems like it may not be in 2018 and beyond.
A lot of owners think like Snider. It's just that Snider speaks publicly. Enjoy Sochi. NHL is probably done with Olympics.— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) February 7, 2014