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Islanders not letting Visnovsky play in Sochi Olympics

Feb 7, 2014, 1:04 AM EDT

2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series - New York Rangers v New York Islanders Getty Images

This very likely was the final opportunity Lubomir Visnovsky had to represent Slovakia in the Winter Olympics. But, in what would’ve been his fifth trip to the Games, it just won’t be.

The New York Islanders aren’t letting him go, according to Long Island Newsday. That’s mostly because the 37-year-old defenseman missed the bulk of this season with a concussion.

“We just don’t feel comfortable letting him go,” Islanders general manager Garth Snow told Long Island Newsday.

Visnovsky has represented Slovakia at the Winter Olympics in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010.

But the decision this year comes from the fact he missed 46 games due to his concussion, only returning to the Islanders’ lineup on Jan. 27 against the Boston Bruins. He’s played in five games since coming back, with more than 20 minutes of ice time in four of those games.

Even before he returned to game action, the Islanders did not want him participating in Sochi.

“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,” Snow said last month.

In 13 games this season, Visnovsky has one goal and three points.

  1. storminator16 - Feb 7, 2014 at 1:09 AM

    Poor, poor, Visnovsky.

    But what about the children!

    (cry me a river)

  2. muckleflugga - Feb 7, 2014 at 1:27 AM

    that’s cold … snow’s such an ass … the typical corporate stooge

    visnovsky can play in the nhl’s slaughter house but is at risk in the olympics …?

    all politics all payback

    • mjw9326mjw9326 - Feb 7, 2014 at 6:52 PM

      I heard they did the same thing to Vanek. If so, you can virtually guarantee he will be gone by summer for sure and will not be back even in free agency.

  3. bcisleman - Feb 7, 2014 at 1:28 AM

    Isn’t this old news? Tough on Lubo, but I understand the Isles’ position.

  4. muckleflugga - Feb 7, 2014 at 1:40 AM


    please explain your understandings …

    i’m baffled why visnovsky can play in the nhl but not represent his country in the olympics as he reaches the end of his career

    it’s all bogus manager-speak

    • 7mantel - Feb 7, 2014 at 8:55 AM

      Does your boss make decisions on whats better for the company or for you ?

    • jobro815 - Feb 7, 2014 at 4:07 PM

      Unless Garth Snow is comfortable with the idea of dangling the rest of the season on every play Lubo makes, I completely understand this. Lubo missed almost the entire season with a severe concussion, and doesn’t have a good track record of staying healthy. The Isles expect him on their blueline until the end of next season, and if he gets reinjured, it could be goodbye Visnovsky.

      The Isles have a bad history of good players and blue-chip prospects who were never the same after getting their bell rung. Google ‘Kenny Jonsson’ or ‘Brett Lindros’ to see what I mean.

      To be fair, it’s not about not caring about Lubo, it’s hedging a bet. He could get hit in minute one of tomorrow’s game (please God don’t) and this whole argument would be moot. It could happen to JT (again, please no). But JT has no history, where Lubo does. That’s all.

    • mjw9326mjw9326 - Feb 7, 2014 at 7:07 PM

      I am not convinced that Garth Snow is not now one of if not THE worst GM in the NHL now that the Sabres finally saw the light and dumped Darcy Regier this season.
      he has now pissed doff two free agents, including one he way overpaid for by not letting them go to Sochi. Lots of luck signing Vanek now and thanks for the picks. You can re sign Moulston over the summer if he is dumb enough to do it. By then Buffalo will have gotten rid of him and gotten even more for him.
      Give Dacy credit where credit is due on that move. Too bad he didn’t do more like that before or h might have had a job still.

  5. bsaures - Feb 7, 2014 at 2:32 AM

    How about this players can go to the Olympics no matter what their team wants HOWEVER if they suffer anything more than a minor injury that team can void their contracts.

    I personally understand why owners are reluctant to let players go, 22 players were injured last olympics with half being out for atleast a week and 3 being injured for over 3 weeks. The turin olympics were worse with 47 injuries including Jagr and Hasek

    • joey4id - Feb 7, 2014 at 8:19 AM

      Then the owners should have voted against sending their players to Sochi.

      • bsaures - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:20 PM

        Its a lose lose situation. How bad would the NHL look if they didnt let their players go in the eyes of the public?

      • joey4id - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:33 PM

        It all comes down to economics. What is the profit associated with their participation? What would be the loss of revenue if they didn’t send their players? If what we think will make their HRR plunge, then they don’t go. I suspect they won’t be going to South Korea in 2018. I think the revenue stream associated with outdoor games might open new opportunities which can be more profitable for the NHL teams and players. I’m thinking on the lines of outdoor games beyond NA. EU for example. Or, perhaps a world tourni under the management and of the NHL. Or, an outdoor world tournament, with rock bands like we saw in LA. The NHL is clearly looking to invent new ways of increasing HRR, which has been accomplished since GB was named the commish.

  6. dilligaf101 - Feb 7, 2014 at 3:34 AM

    It’s not like the islanders are going to be in the playoffs… What’s the big deal?! Let him play

  7. tjvalley - Feb 7, 2014 at 7:00 AM

    I think the isles intend to trade him. He is most valuable to use traded. We could probably get a first round pick for him.

    • 7mantel - Feb 7, 2014 at 8:43 AM

      You might have a point there !

      • isithockeyseasonyet - Feb 7, 2014 at 9:12 AM

        No chance a first round pick for a 37 year old who missed almost 50 games with a concussion, maybe a 3rd but I can’t imagine anyone giving up anything significant

      • 7mantel - Feb 7, 2014 at 9:50 AM

        @isithockeyseasonyet,i was thinking maybe he was right because the Isles are probably going to miss playoffs and getting something for him is better than nothing if he gets injured again . When playoff time comes around teams will take a gamble now and then .l

      • mjw9326mjw9326 - Feb 7, 2014 at 7:12 PM

        Well maybe if there is someone as stupid as Snow he might give up a number one. Good luck with that.

  8. hockeydon10 - Feb 7, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    So, the NHL and the NHLPA agreed to let the players play in the Olympics.

    BUT individual teams can still deny the players something they negotiated for?

    I don’t get it.

  9. deeboy - Feb 7, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    I understand Snow’s position here, but does he even have the right to say something given the agreement between the NHL and NHLPA.

    Shouldn’t the NHLPA step in on Lubomir’s behalf and do something. And couldn’t he just say “screw you, I’m going. And if you say anything, I will file a grievance.”? I don’t care one way or the other, but it seems that Snow doesn’t have much to stand on here.

  10. killerpgh - Feb 7, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    I don’t think this will help bring free agent to the Islanders. I don’t see how NHLPA can let the Islanders violate the CBA like this. If he is cleared to play in the NHL then he is cleared to play in the Olympic.

  11. jobro815 - Feb 7, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    How about the Olympics go back to being about excellent amateurs? Or Even minor-leaguers? I’m sure the KHL has a farm system like the NHL, and if you don’t allow NHLers from any country to play it’ll be even again. The beauty of ‘The Miracle on Ice’ is that it was college boys against the Soviets, who were professional in every way but name.

    • mjw9326mjw9326 - Feb 7, 2014 at 7:14 PM

      The sad thing is the Russians wil cheat just like before and put in ringers on their teams.

  12. hockeyflow33 - Feb 7, 2014 at 5:07 PM

    This probably explains the two recent declined extensions

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