Skip to content

Oates doesn’t think NHLers belong in Olympics

Feb 14, 2013, 1:06 PM EDT

Adam Oates AP

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.

For example, here’s Leafs prospect Morgan Rielly when he found out he made Canada’s World Juniors squad:

“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.

Related: How do Team USA, Canada, Russia look a year before the Olympics?

Latest Posts
  1. Stamkos shrugs off talk of LeBron-like homecoming to Toronto in 2016

    Jul 23, 2014, 4:20 PM EDT

    James Reimer, Mark Fraser, Steven Stamkos AP

    “We’ll see what happens. It’s a couple years away.”

  2. Sakic says there was ‘never any animosity’ between Avs and O’Reilly

    Jul 23, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT

    Joe Sakic AP

    “Any of the perceived animosity came from the outside.”

  3. Jacques Martin is now Pittsburgh’s senior advisor of hockey operations

    Jul 23, 2014, 12:57 PM EDT

    Jacques Martin, Dan Bylsma, Sidney Crosby, James Neal, Chris Kunitz AP

    His previously “yet-to-be-determined capacity” has been determined.

  4. Fayne looking forward to defending the ‘bigger guys’ in West

    Jul 23, 2014, 12:41 PM EDT

    Mark Fayne, Mark Letestu AP

    “My style and build might be better against the bigger guys.”

  5. Ex-NHLer Paek to coach Korea, with goal of participating in 2018 Olympics

    Jul 23, 2014, 11:34 AM EDT

    Detroit Red Wings 2007 Headshots Getty Images

    Won a couple of Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

  6. Sabres sign d-man Benoit — one year, $800,000

    Jul 23, 2014, 10:48 AM EDT

    Colorado Avalanche v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    Had seven goals with 21 assists last year for the Avs.

  7. Avs and O’Reilly agree on two-year deal, but questions remain

    Jul 23, 2014, 10:23 AM EDT

    Colorado Avalanche v Ottawa Senators Getty Images

    The 23-year-old can now become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2016.

  8. New Caps regime plans to keep Ovechkin at RW (for now)

    Jul 23, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Alex Ovechkin, Victor Hedman AP

    Barry Trotz continues Adam Oates’ alteration, at least for now.

  9. Stars consider Roussel a ‘big part’ of their team

    Jul 22, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Jaden Schwartz, Antoine Roussel AP

    They locked him up to a four-year deal on Tuesday.

  10. Report: NHL return possible for Peter Mueller

    Jul 22, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT

    Peter Mueller AP

    He spent last season playing in Switzerland.

  11. Zuccarello takes Rangers’ one year, $3.5M deal

    Jul 22, 2014, 6:13 PM EDT

    2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five Getty Images

    That’s $1 million less than his reported asking price.

  12. Flames avoid arbitration with Colborne, ink two-year deal

    Jul 22, 2014, 5:15 PM EDT

    Calgary Flames v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    It’s believed to be worth $2.55 million overall.

  13. Advancement? Leafs sign Booth for one year, $1.1M

    Jul 22, 2014, 3:52 PM EDT

    David Booth Getty Images

    Another buy-low bargain like Mason Raymond?

Featured video

Bettman hears the boos in Philly
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (1888)
  2. D. Roy (1521)
  3. R. Nash (1461)
  4. L. Stempniak (1444)
  5. M. Ribeiro (1367)
  1. D. Cleary (1324)
  2. B. Morrow (1229)
  3. B. Dubinsky (1224)
  4. V. Sobotka (1172)
  5. P. Subban (1142)