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Islanders don’t want Visnovsky (concussion) playing in Olympics

Jan 23, 2014, 9:10 AM EDT

UNIONDALE, NY - OCTOBER 08: Lubomir Visnovsky #11 of the New York Islanders carries the puck against the Phoenix Coyotes at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on October 8, 2013 in Uniondale, New York. Getty Images

New York Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion) has started to practice and still hopes to return before the Olympic break. Even if he manages to do that though, the Islanders won’t let him play for Team Slovakia in the 2014 Winter Games.

“As much as Lubo would like to represent his country and participate in the Olympics, our doctors and I are not comfortable with him going to play,” Islanders GM Garth Snow told Newsday.

As recently as Tuesday, Visnovsky was talking about his desire to still participate in the Olympics. The 37-year-old was named to the team’s roster for a fifth and likely final time.

Only 14 players that were born in Slovakia have participated in at least one NHL game this season, so losing Visnovsky is a major blow.

Visnovsky hasn’t played since Oct. 19.

  1. canadiansportsfan77 - Jan 23, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    It’s perfectly logical for Snow to be having that line of thought, but he shouldn’t have any control over that. He can request Lubo to skip it, but you can’t tell someone they cannot represent their country when the country comes calling.

    • storminator16 - Jan 23, 2014 at 10:26 AM

      Yes, if Visnovsky is cleared by team doctors by the Olympic break then he should be allowed to play in the Olympics. However (and fully playing Devil’s advocate), if he decides to play against the team’s wishes his contract should be voided. His job (the occupation he is paid to do) is to play ice hockey for the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League. If he puts himself in a situation in which his health could be impacted after his employer (and doctors employed by the employer) say it would not be a good idea, then his logical choice is to do what his employers ask of him. His country be damned. He is responsible to ensure the House of Visnovsky is taken care of, not to his fellow countrymen.

      Snow would not be talking to the media about this unless there are shoes to drop if Visnovsky insists on playing. I wonder what the NHLPA says about this, but I have a feeling they have no power in this matter.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Jan 23, 2014 at 10:48 AM

        I believe the Wild has the same deal with Koivu. However as long as he’s cleared to play by the team doctors, the NHL doesn’t have much of a say who can participate and who can’t. All the GM can really say is advising him not to play, but that’s as far as he can go. Ultimately it’s up to the player if he wants to play or not.

      • storminator16 - Jan 23, 2014 at 10:54 AM

        “the NHL doesn’t have much of a say who can participate and who can’t”

        The NHL, yes, but the team? There may be a legal debate on that.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Jan 23, 2014 at 2:49 PM

        The teams work under the NHL rules which was negotiated and agreed upon by both the players and the owners that they can play at the Olympics. Not much can stop them from playing as long as the team doctors say they are good to go

      • storminator16 - Jan 23, 2014 at 5:59 PM

        Doesn’t matter. This will be the last time these guys goes to the Olympics and good riddance. They need to focus on the team that pays them.

  2. esvogel - Jan 23, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    This doesn’t make sense to me. The Olympic game is much less physical, there’s more space, he’s going to be rusty coming back, why not let him play and get back in shape there instead of having him sit that entire time.

    • elvispocomo - Jan 23, 2014 at 12:11 PM

      I don’t think you’d want a player to use hockey against what are basically all star teams playing regular contact as a chance to get back in game shape, especially after a concussion that’s kept him out 3 months.

      • esvogel - Jan 23, 2014 at 1:22 PM

        I guess I just think its different for people who have been playing all season getting a 2 week break than it is for a guy who’s been out and not even skating to skate for a week or two, play a couple games, then sit for 2 weeks again.

      • elvispocomo - Jan 23, 2014 at 3:46 PM

        You’re right that he won’t get game time during the Olympic break, but he’ll at least be able to work on fitness and skills in practice, something he hasn’t been able to do while sitting with concussion symptoms.

  3. elvispocomo - Jan 23, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    For shorter term injuries, it’d be much harder for a team to enforce a “no go” policy, but Visnovsky has been out since mid-October. Over three months he’s been out, and for a concussion to boot, so to have him play and risk further injury so close to recovering (assuming he is cleared at all) would be pretty selfish of Vis.

  4. bcisleman - Jan 23, 2014 at 8:26 PM

    Stinks for Lubo esp as he may not have another shot at it but fully understand Isles’ POV.

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