Feb 14, 2013, 1:06 PM EST
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.
“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.
- NHL on NBCSN: Sharks’ ‘dog fight’ continues vs. red hot Ducks 1
- NHL on NBCSN: Rangers, Canadiens seek edge as divisional battles intensify 0
- Struggling Kings complete the comeback against Blackhawks 11
- Video: Tempers boil over between Capitals, Penguins 42
- Isles’ Clutterbuck latest to be fined for diving 19
- No hearing scheduled for Kesler after ‘dirty play’ on Dorsett 23
- Why NHL fans — no matter where they live — should care about the plunging Canadian dollar 32
- Trade: Pens acquire Lapierre from Blues for Goc 63
- Video: Habs’ Emelin ejected for hit on Stars’ Spezza 31
- Martin Brodeur to retire, become Blues asst. GM (Updated) 45