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Backes calls World Cups ‘a step below’ Olympics

Feb 19, 2014, 2:52 AM EDT

Sochi Olympics Ice Hockey Men AP

Remember last week when we said that NHLers need to speak up if they want to keep participating in the Olympics?

Per the Olympic News Service, American forward David Backes is speaking up.

“It’s the Olympics; it’s irreplaceable, I think,” Backes said. “World Cups could be a step below. You’re never going to replace the Olympics. It’s every four years, and it’s something special.”

Backes conceded that shutting down the NHL “for a couple weeks is probably not ideal”; however, the “guys absolutely love playing in the Games, and hopefully it is something other generations of guys have the opportunity to play, and not just something that we had a short window to do.”

On Tuesday, deputy commissioner Bill Daly said it was a “possibility” that there could be both ongoing Olympic participation and World Cups in the future.

Related: Bettman, Fehr, Fasel address future Olympic participation for NHL

  1. charlieconway96 - Feb 19, 2014 at 3:47 AM

    Personally I would like to see both tournaments played. The international rivalries would be fun to see, but I don’t think they’ll get too heated if teams only see each other for 3 weeks every 4 a years. Adding a world cup could be good in a few different ways, the rivalries, keeping players in shape over the summer etc…

  2. opattytheirishrover - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:03 AM

    Any possibility to give these athletes a chance to showcase their abilities I say “go for it”. Plus, on the down-time between NHL seasons we can see less basketball games…

    I for one, absolutely seeing players from different teams and leagues get together to play under their own countries flag, and team rivalries being put aside for the good of their nations instills nationalistic pride.

    Keep ‘em coming

  3. hockey412 - Feb 19, 2014 at 8:12 AM

    Part of me sees the owners’ point in not wanting their professionals, which they’ve invested millions in, to compete. But the Olympics have been a consistent celebration of humanity’s unity and existence since like 800 B.C. The World Cup, while awesome, isn’t the same, Backes is right. And while I try to see the owners’ view, I can’t think of any better way to attract new fans to the sport in general than the Olympic games. It would truly suck to not see NHLers in the games.

  4. moarjam - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    How about this…don’t have the 3 week break. The NHL season continues without interruption. I’m sure you could even make it where there’s less games during the Olympics.

    Make it up to each team whether or not their players can go and participate in the Olympics.

    The owners have invested millions into these players. They deserve to decide whether they can leave or not.

    As for the players, like the rest of the working world, they have to get permission from their boss if they want to go on a 3 week vacation (I know its not a vacation but they wont be at work from 3 weeks). Maybe they offer to give up their game checks for the time missed?

    • gtthom86 - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      Either let them go or not, obviously if there wasn’t a break and owners had a choice they wouldn’t be sending their best players abroad well another owner keeps them and makes a jump in the standings during the olympics. retard

      • moarjam - Feb 19, 2014 at 6:08 PM

        Woah way to keep it classy there bud. We need more of you here…

        As a matter of fact, I saw an article before the lockout that the caps owner would let Ovie go to socci even if the players were not allowed. Soooo yeah. I guess he should have checked with you first before saying that.

  5. pavelfitzgerald - Feb 19, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    Exactly how many World Cups has Backes played in again?

    If any of us owned a business (i.e. an NHL franchise) you would not want your employees going across the world for free with no reimbursement & a significant chance that they will be hurt.

    I love the Olympics with NHL players but it makes no sense for the NHL & Backes has no idea what he’s talking about since he’s never played in a World Cup of Hockey

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