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Isles GM Snow furious over Tavares injury; calls IOC, IIHF ‘a joke’

Feb 20, 2014, 4:12 PM EDT

garthsnowgetty Getty Images

Not long after Isles captain John Tavares was ruled out for the year with a knee injury suffered at the Olympics, his GM went on the offensive.

“Are the IIHF or IOC going to reimburse our season ticket holders now?” Snow asked, per Newsday. “It’s a joke. They want all the benefits from NHL players in Olympics and don’t want to pay when our best player gets hurt.”

Tavares, 23, tore his MCL and meniscus during Canada’s 2-1 win over Latvia on Wednesday, thanks to a hit from ex-Winnipeg defenseman Arturs Kulda in the second period. It’s the first major injury of Tavares’ career — a Hart Trophy nominee in ’13, he’s only missed three games (concussion) since breaking in during the 2009-10 campaign.

He’s the fifth NHL player to go down to injury during the Sochi Games. Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg (back), Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello (hand) and Florida’s Tomas Kopecky (head) and Aleksander Barkov (knee) were also hurt while in Russia, and their outlooks for return are murky.

Fear of injury is one of the reason NHL owners have been leery about sending players to the Olympics. Commissioner Gary Bettman is always quick to point out NHLers are “invited guests” of the IOC when it comes to the Winter Games, and that players are treated the same as any other participating athletes.

That isn’t doing much to appease Snow, however.

“It wouldn’t matter if we were 10 points up on a playoff spot or 10 points out,” he fumed. “We lost our best player and he wasn’t playing for us.”

Update: According to the New York Daily News, the Isles will receive something in the way of compensation…

According to a spokesman from the NHL players association, nothing changes for an injured Olympic player from a salary front. For the team, his salary is covered by the insurance coverage that was paid for by IOC.

If players need surgery – like Tavares most certainly will – the spokesman said he’d imagine that it would fall under insurance as well, which the IOC would cover.

  1. multiplemiggs - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:17 PM

    He’s right.

    • sabatimus - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:35 PM

      No he isn’t. Snow has no legal basis for his argument.

    • sabatimus - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:35 PM

      And frankly he comes across as a crybaby.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:46 PM

        Actually, while he wasn’t as articulate as he should have been, if he is advocating that the Olympics should pay for insurance to cover the contracts of NHL players, then he has a point. The Olympics are a for profit venture, so if they want the best hockey players in the world, then they should pay insurance for the contracts and then Tavares’ salary for the rest of the year would be covered by insurance, not the Islanders.

      • stakex - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:55 PM

        Its a little bit more than that though narf.

        The players contract are covered by insurance, though I don’t know who has to pay for that. So the Islanders will be covered for the cost while Tavares is out. However, that doesn’t pay for the cost when the Islanders miss the playoffs… or the lost ticket sales, or lost TV revenue. It doesn’t make it up to the fans who already bought tickets to watch Tavares play, who pretty much wasted the money now.

        As you can see, this goes a lot deeper than simply paying the cost of the players contract while he sits on the couch recovering.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 20, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        I get that ticket sales, playoff revenue is an additional loss, but here’s a good article on insuring contracts…

        It says that insurance (in this case, for A-Rod) doesn’t kick in for a player’s salary until after a few months of an injury, so the Islanders are likely still on the hook for Tavares’ remaining salary because there’s less than 2 months left of the season. If Crosby gets hurt tomorrow, the Penguins are probably still on the hook for $3-$4M of salary for the rest of the season, not the insurance company. If the Olympics want the NHL players, they should pay for an insurance policy that fills in the gaps there and would cover Tavares’ salary for the rest of the season.

      • sabatimus - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:22 PM

        If he’s saying they should, then that’s his belief. But throwing the organizations under the bus because they currently don’t (though the update seems to indicate they do to a degree) is unprofessional.

    • ericcoyle15 - Feb 20, 2014 at 10:51 PM

      this is such bull crap and you know it, this is hockey were talking about not ice dancing, hes just pissed cause his star player got injured and star players sell tickets, its all about money, some GM’s dont give a crap about representing their country when on the other hand a lot of star players love to rep their country and they all do it proudly, its the olympics for god sakes, country over city any day of the week, and garth must actually believe his team was going somewhere this year, what a joke

    • tdrusher225 - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:10 PM

      No he’s not. The IOC actually does compensate teams for injured players through insurance policy.

    • williamson39 - Feb 21, 2014 at 12:55 AM

      Nonsense. If he actually cared about injury risk, his players would wear full shields and any illegal play causing an injury would have the offender out for the duration of the injury plus league penal time. But he hasn’t done the math – this is just grandstanding by a greedy half-wit

  2. c9castine - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:17 PM

    maybe somebody should explain to Snow what this whole Olympic thing is all about.

    they aren’t signing him to a pro contract. they aren’t even selecting him. the canadian olympic committee does that, and he chooses to go.

    he acts like this season means anything for the islanders anyway.

    • garyreasons55 - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:35 PM

      You had me until you said “he acts like this season means anything for the islanders anyway.” Oh so losing the cornerstone of your franchise and losing one of the top athletes in the game should be shunned upon because the Islanders aren’t making the playoffs. Great, Maybe we should let players just kill each other on the ice as long as they aren’t playoff teams, right?

      • garyreasons55 - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:37 PM

        That being said Tavares went there on his own accord. If Snow blames anyone he should blame his owner and Bettman for allowing NHL players to compete in the Olympics.

      • c9castine - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:47 PM

        first of all, i think saying we should let guys kill each other on the ice is pretty far off base. don’t take everything so literally…

        i realize no matter what, your gonna hurt from losing a guy for the rest of a season. but the situation is considerably less pressing when your team has little chance of competing past the regular season. not to mention, he’s blaming the wrong people.

      • hockey412 - Feb 21, 2014 at 9:13 AM

        Because we all know these injuries could ONLY happen in the olympics, where the rink is bigger and allows for a more skilled game, and could NEVER happen in the NHL, where the rinks are smaller, the play is more brutal, and teams that play an over-the-top physical game like Boston/Philly/LA are penalized only on an as-needed basis. He’s acting like there was no risk of this happening, and the fact that it DID happen, lies solely on the IIHF. It sucks, to be sure, that he got hurt. But whether it happened here or there is irrelevant.

  3. phipfwe76 - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    1. I love having NHL players in the Olympics, and don’t want to see that change.

    2. I do think the IOC/IIHF could do *something* for situations like this.

    3. “Reimburse the season ticket holders”? Really, Garth? If he got hurt during a regular season game, do you really think you’d be reimbursing anything??

    • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:01 PM

      Yeah, didn’t see the Islanders reimburse the fans for all those DiPietro years.

      • elrock7 - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:48 PM

        Or the Milbury years….

      • imgoingtowichita - Feb 21, 2014 at 9:44 PM

        Bill Barilko

  4. sens101 - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    He just did you a favour Garth. Now your team will be in a better draft position and you can choose whether to take this pic or defer until next season. If anybody should compensate the season ticket holders its you! You are a joke and a major reason why this Islanders rebuild is taking so long. Get your head out of your ass and fire yourself.

    • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:03 PM

      Didn’t they gave away their 2014 1st round pick with Matt Moulson to get Vanek?

      • jl9830 - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:57 PM

        If it’s top 10, they can choose to keep it and give 2015 instead.

      • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:19 PM

        That’s some good insurance to have. Smart move by Snow. Might as well trade Vanek now and go for it.

    • bcisleman - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:46 PM

      They are in 5th draft position as it is and not likely to go lower than 3rd. Garth has done a solid job as GM. The rebuild is taking so long because Milbury left him w/ virtually NOTHING to build on.

  5. killerpgh - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:25 PM

    Would the Islander front office repay season ticket holders if Tavares got hurt playing for them? I don’t think I’m going very far out on a limb when I say they answer is difinetely no.

    • stakex - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:59 PM

      Of course they wouldn’t, and that is probably a terrible example to use.

      However it IS different when the guy gets hurt playing for the Islanders than getting hurt in the Olympics.

      • dueman - Feb 20, 2014 at 5:51 PM

        Actually, it’s a perfect example to use.

    • bcisleman - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:49 PM

      I hope Sid doesn’t get hurt tmw but if he does, I wonder if you’ll feel the same way.

  6. jimw81 - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    He spoke for Mr.Wang and went full Ed Snider at the same time. enjoy friday and sunday, this will be the last time you will see nhl in olympics, forever.

  7. goalieguy32 - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    Wait, Islanders have season ticket holders?

  8. vgraziano - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    Is there no end to tale of woe of being an isles fan…..somebody say uncle, hurry!!!!

    • garyreasons55 - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:38 PM

      The Islanders should repay season ticket holders for having a joke of an owner, joke of a GM, and a joke of a coach.

  9. vm113 - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    So says the biggest JOKE of a GM in the NHL.

  10. sdelmonte - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    The Yankees were reimbursed for Marx Texiera’s injury in the World Baseball Classic, so there is some precedent for such things. But it’s the sort of thing that should have been worked out long ago and not after the fact.

    Still, of course it was an Islander. Of course it was the one guy carrying the team.

    • bcisleman - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:53 PM

      Have you looked at Okposo’s and Nielsen’s stats? Or JT’s stats during the recent losing streak? Isles need more depth and JT is important to their future, but he’s hardly a one man show.

  11. angrytwitterguy - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    So we’re the Islanders ever going to reimburse season ticket holders if Tavares went down for the season during a regular season game?

    They wtf are you talking about Garth?

  12. canadiansportsfan77 - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    Shut up Garth, your a joke for not acquiring a defenseman and a goalie over the offseason for this season.

    In all seriousness, as good an idea as it seems to get insurance payments, I can just as easily see the NHL taking advantage of the system and stating returning players have injuries from the Olympics and claiming insurance on non-injuries when they usually would be playing had such events occurred during the season.

    Regardless of the NHL wanting players going or not, its still going to happen. The majority of the European players will play regardless and the NHL will be losing out on a lot of starpower. If they void the contracts, they’ll go to the KHL and be lost for good. They gotta keep the players happy, they will have the power in the next Olympics.

    • moarjam - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:34 PM

      I highly doubt the players would void their contracts and defy their teams and just go over there. The khl threat isn’t that big. If they wanted the be in the khl they would just go there and stop resigning here.

    • bcisleman - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:54 PM

      He tried to trade for a goalie all summer. No one wanted Nino’s cap hit coming back.

  13. muckleflugga - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:56 PM

    tough for tavares … great player and a favourite of mine

    i for one would happily see the nhl out of the winter games … too many bloated over-priced egos in need of further affirmation and gratification at the expense of hard-working and committed amateurs

    [ calling sid … earth to sid … anyone heard from sid ]

    don’t kid yourself … all snow and the pencil-neck suit-jockeys running the nhl want is a big piece of the olympics pie … greed rather than player safety dictates

    if players health was truly an issue these same clowns would regulate the professional game with player health in mind … have you seen the parade to sick-bay in the past few years … noticeably increased with legal scrutiny on the doorstep wot

    i see bettman’s smarmy countenance on the tube i want to puke … the quintessential corporate toad selling bodies like so much horse flesh


    • theageofquarrel - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:49 PM

      Yeah, Sid sucks and should retire. He really is worthless.

  14. mgbinder - Feb 20, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    Garth Snow should heed his own advice and reimburse Islanders fans for the last 8 years.

  15. llojac1 - Feb 20, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    Boo hoo! Vanek trade looking better & better for Sabres. Two top 5 picks in the draft & if the Isles defer until next year, even better chance to land McDavid. Thanks Garth!!

  16. lidstrom5 - Feb 20, 2014 at 5:18 PM

    Take it from the biggest joke gm in the game of hockey!

    • lidstrom5 - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:26 PM

      he is pretty well saying no one else on that team will sell tickets …..

  17. thomasvanek - Feb 20, 2014 at 5:22 PM

    Injuries happen. Maybe if you didn’t have a team that was 100% centered around one player than you wouldn’t have this major issue. This event happens once every 4 years. It is a chance for the best players to represent their country instead of some random city they are drafted or traded to.

  18. phxyotes - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:30 PM

    The Islanders sucked anyways, not like it was going to matter if Tavares played again this year.

  19. anthj99 - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    I think Garth should reimburse the season ticket holders for being the worst GM in hockey.

  20. moarjam - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    All you guys saying the isles suck and Garth isn’t a good gm…you are right BUT that doesn’t mean Garth is wrong on this. If the IOC expects the NHL to keep sending its players over they will have to pay, as they should. They make a ridiculous amount of money off of this and men’s hockey is undoubtably the most popular event.

  21. jasminedonut - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    He is right, the players should have to forfeit the salary they are paid while they are injured, if their injury is a result of the olympics

  22. ermur221 - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:41 PM

    I thought The Olympics are for the best players in the world. Not amateurs. Who wants to see a bunch of college kids play anyway

  23. 7mantel - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:43 PM

    Correct me if I’m wrong ,the owners have last say if a player wants to play in the Olympics.

  24. pfhockey - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:37 PM

    This is just as bad as blaming games for violence. Violence and injuries have occurred at nearly the same rate as before, now we have a culprit to blame. This is idiotic. Just read what he said. “He was injured, and he wasn’t playing for “us”.” Injuries on the big ice are slighty less probable to happen. I don’t know why his rant should be taken as a valid point. anyone who disagrees may defend him.

  25. pone27 - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:44 PM

    NHL players not in the Olympics, and I don’t watch Olympic hockey anymore, plain and simple. Best in the world in their respective sport represent their country. College kids are not the best players in the world.

    This whole Owners/GMs debate over whether the players should play or not is IMO, weak.

    If a player gets hurt, they bash/attack the IIHF and/or IOC like as if they are at fault for a player getting hurt.

    Their superstar player scores the OT winner, or some other amazing scenario, they reap the benefits of ticket, jersey sales, etc.

    Plain and simple, they (owners/IIHF,IOC) come to an agreement to play in the Olympics, they play. Maybe GMs can now start structuring contracts that includes something along the lines of Olympic play.

    I am pretty sure that Tavares has zero regret playing in the Olympics regardless of his injury.

    • moarjam - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:04 PM

      Well I can tell you if the NHL stops sending players over, they could care less if you stop watching the Olympics. They’d probably prefer it.

  26. LampyB - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:55 PM

    Snow is just bitter that vanek didnt pan out and he lost good draft picks. Like a child crying for a toy when he’s really just over tired.

  27. gettingpwned - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    If Garth knew how to build a team he might have some credibility here. But since his plan has always been to suck, get high draft picks & then get bottom feeder FAs, he doesn’t pull a lot of weight here. I’m an isles fan btw.

  28. FoozieGrooler - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    “..We lost our best player and he wasn’t playing for us…”

    Well then you shouldn’t have let him go.
    Certainly as the team GM you have the authority to prohibit players from playing outside the league?
    See? Problem solved.

  29. smarshall3789 - Feb 21, 2014 at 1:56 AM

    Tough break but the players want to play for their countries! I know damn well if the USA asked me to put on that jersey I would so totally do it even if it ment I’d have a chance of getting hurt! Injuries happen it is what it is my team lost it’s leader (Zetterberg) you don’t see me crying!

  30. herogoesallin - Feb 21, 2014 at 7:06 AM

    this is why i’m happy that stamkos didnt made it to the olympics. he will be 100% when ghe playoffs start. some of these guy (most of them) we not be ready for the playoffs.

  31. herogoesallin - Feb 21, 2014 at 7:13 AM

    errmur221 wrote:
    I thought The Olympics are for the best players in the world. Not amateurs.

    you are wrong the history of olympics says the games are for non paid athlets (amateurs). try to make a bet for the olympic games. wonder why why you cant ?!?!??
    why do you think at the summer olympics the soccer games are a joke. the pro soccer players are not playing!!!

  32. kellyb9 - Feb 21, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    so it’s okay to get hurt- just as long as you do it in front of season ticket holders…. right.

  33. ehmcw - Feb 21, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    Snow is a joke. If he was so concerned about his players then why didn’t he keep all of them out of the Olympics, like he did with Visnovsky ( And lets stop Mike Milbury on the team’s current issues; Snow has been around for almost 8 years now, I could fill a post with what’s been built in that time.

    I’m surprised that team even still has season ticket holders 1) other than last year, they’ve been trotting crap out there for years 2) they are on their way out of that dilapidated building heading to Brooklyn.

  34. patshal - Feb 21, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    Wow. I didn’t realize there were that many NHL injuries in the Olympics. I learn something new everyday. Lol

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