Does Ed Snyder Have Anything to Complan About?

Posted: 02/08/2014 by levcohen in Hockey

Following the Philadelphia Flyers’ 3-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, Flyers chairman Ed Snyder went off on the Winter Olympic break. First, an explanation: The NHL takes off a little more than two weeks starting tomorrow and lasting throughout the Olympics as a large number of NHL players play Olympic hockey for their countries. Now to what Snyder had to say:

It’s ridiculous, the whole thing is ridiculous. I don’t care if it was in Philadelphia; I wouldn’t want to break up the league. I think it’s ridiculous to take three weeks off, or however long it is, in the middle of the season. It screws up everything. … How can anybody be happy breaking up their season. No other league does it; why should we? There’s no benefit to us whatsoever. If anything, I can only see negatives.

Snyder has a problem with the break, of course, because of the way his team is playing right now. After their win today, the Flyers have outscored opponents by a score of 20-9 in their last six games. Going back a little further, the Flyers are 14-7-2 in their last 23 games. So Snyder thinks that the huge break could break up the team’s momentum. Let me just say first that I think Snyder has nothing to complain about for a few reasons. He’s right that no other league has the Olympic break, but that’s because there is no Olympic baseball (and the Championships in baseball are every four years in the off-season), basketball takes place in the summer, when there is no NBA, and there is no Olympic football. Actually, European Soccer encounters this problem all the time. Every few months, especially in the year or so leading up to the World Cup, there are International Breaks, when players go off and play for their countries. Teams miss practice and games for weeks, and nobody ever complains about that.

Besides, the “momentum” factor is overrated. Sure, the Flyers are playing well right now, but that’s because they have talent. Really, they should have been playing this well all season, in which case they wouldn’t need to rely on their momentum to win games. If the Flyers are really a good hockey team, then they’ll keep winning after the break. I think they will, but who knows.

There is really no way to avoid these breaks. Every four years, there will be a Winter Olympics, and hockey is always a major part of the Olympic games. Since the NHL is the best hockey league in the world, there are going to be a lot of NHL players who are going to be chosen to play for their countries. By the way, these players love the Olympics. It would be cruel to take the chance to play for their country in the Olympics away from them just because some grumpy Flyers chairman believes in momentum. Ed Snyder is really just blowing off steam. His comments aren’t going to gain any steam, they just are going to be in the news for a few days. Soccer has to deal with the same issues, and that will also not change. Ed, just think about it this way: your team will be able to rest easy for two weeks while riding a four game winning streak. That’s a heck of a lot better than the alternative. 

  1. dpcathena says:

    The break may be an advantage for teams that have fewer Olympic players and therefore get to rest and recover from injuries, but that should serve to equalize good and bad. As you say, championship caliber teams need to fight through challenges, and this one doesn’t seem so monumental.

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