Feb 14, 2013, 1:06 PM EDT
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.
- On carrying three goalies, and which teams might be forced to do it 0
- Bettman: NHL won’t expand ‘just to fulfill somebody’s notion of symmetry 7
- Report: Johansen lowers demands, but not low enough 31
- Injuries piling up as preseason schedule begins 11
- Report: Fedorov denies contract offer was made to Johansen 8
- Report: Johansen has gotten no shortage of KHL offers 43
- Update: Drouin out with upper body injury, not expected to miss preseason 1
- Report: NHL officials to participate in preseason without new CBA 1
- Evander Kane: I know I can score 50 goals 16
- ‘C’-less Thornton comes out swing against Wilson’s ‘tomorrow team’ talk 19
- Heeeeeere’s Johnny! Davidson shreds Johansen’s agent for ‘baffling, nonsensical’ contract demands (65)
- Jackets reveal Johansen offers — including an eight year, $46M deal (55)
- No icing on the PK? The USHL will see how that looks (43)
- Report: Johansen has gotten no shortage of KHL offers (43)
- Just how damaging are heated negotiations between Jackets, RFA Johansen? (38)