Looks as though the NHLPA's protest about inadequate insurance coverage for prospective Olympians who will take part in their countries' orientation camps next month is falling on deaf ears. At least in North America.
While eight NHL-employed German players pulled out of that country's camp on Monday, several prominent Canadian hopefuls including
"I've skated [in the summer] for years and have never been hurt, so I'll be skating," said Thornton, who is on the bubble for making the squad.
"I think we need the ice," Nash told CTV. "I think we need to practice."
Along with orientation meetings, Canada (Aug. 24-27) and the U.S. (Aug. 17-20) are expected to hold on-ice sessions as a chemistry-building exercise. The sessions, perhaps as few as two, are expected to feature light drills and limited contact. Not the most likely scenario for a major injury, but stranger things have happened.
So you can't blame the PA for playing the role of concerned parent. That's part of its mandate. But instead of simply pointing fingers at the limited insurance provided by the national federations, why not be part of the solution?
Here's a thought: the PA has been the most vocal proponent of NHL player participation in the Olympics. In fact, the union has already made it clear that the players want to play in the 2014 tournament in Soci, Russia, a position that seems to put them at odds with their league, which merely tolerates the event. While the NHL would be just as happy to pass on future involvement, the PA believes, and rightly so, that the Olympics provide an unparalleled opportunity to promote the stars of the game.
So why wouldn't the union put everything behind the Olympics? A bigger pie means a bigger slice for the players. Since the PA stands to gain from the exposure provided by the Games, why wouldn't it see fit to make up the perceived insurance shortfall from its own significant cash reserves?
The PA is sold on this Olympic process. Rather than provide ammunition for a league that's disinclined to proceed after 2010, they'd be better served by digging as deep as they feel necessary to turn a problem into an opportunity.
Smart move by
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Now all that's left on GM
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As if the loss of