Morning Papers Take: Not agreeing with Lamoriello on Olympics

Posted by Richard Pollock in Morning Papers take,NHL Morning Papers on November 13, 2009 — 4 Comments

In this morning’s Eastern Conference Morning Papers, Mark Everson of the NY Post had these quotes from Lou Lamoriello:

“That will be a CBA issue, but I am totally against it. Totally against. Absolutely. I have always been,” Lamoriello said yesterday, after GM meetings in Toronto following his enshrinement in the Hockey Hall of Fame Monday.

“The weeks that we take out of the season are prime dates,” Lamoriello said. “Here were are coming off football and we have an opportunity to keep the fans going to the games, then we take a break for two weeks.

“I’ve always felt this way, and I’m stronger now because we’re going into a new CBA and it should be something that comes up. I know Russia is having it next time. This has nothing to do with where it’s going to be. It has to do with the philosophy of why and why not.

“I do believe in the Olympics. I just don’t believe in the timing.”

Read the entire article here.

What is wrong with going to the Olympics in mid-season? First off, the timing of the Olympics is never going to change, so if time is the only issue Lamoriello has with partaking in the Games, I just don’t think that is a significant enough reason.

In February, teams starting looking ahead to the playoffs and intensity increases but it is not as if the NHL cuts down its 82-game schedule in Olympic years. In 2009-10, the regular season just began earlier and the schedule will be more spread out to accomodate the break in February.

Sure that break kills teams momentum, but it also gives the majority of the NHL a break to rest up. I realize the game-breakers are playing a ton of hockey but that’s why they are paid the big bucks. The desire to win should outweigh being tired from playing an intense extra five, six or seven games.

Simply, the Olympics sell the game of hockey, sell the sport to those who have never seen it and provide viewers with best quality of hockey every four years. Moreover, it grows the game in whatever country the games are being played in.

The importance of the Olympic Games to the NHL cannot be understated in my opinion. Abandoning the Games due to scheduling concerns would be a short-sighted move in my opinion.

  • Bob Roberts

    When Lou Lamoriello says “…we have an opportunity to keep the fans going to the games,…” he probably means “we” as “NHL hockey teams” rather than the NJ Devils, but I watch Devils games regularly and it looks to me like the quote is particularly appropriate for him: looks like a lot of empty seats to me, “announced attendance figures” notwithstanding.

    In the big picture though, if you want to expand to Europe it’s hard to imagine a better commercial than NHL players playing at a European-hosted Winter Olympics.

    If the IOC paid the NHL anything for the players to come you might think Lou was posturing for negotiations directly, but that’s not the case, is it? Maybe he thinks the IOC will adjust the dates to accomodate the NHL?

    Given that it appears that LL rarely, if ever, gives an interview without a purpose, and that he is clearly anything but stupid: could he be negotiating the new CBA already? He is the only non-owner on that bargaining committee for the NHL, isn’t he?

    If that’s the case, and he’s attempting to make NHLPA participation in the 2014 Games a bargaining chip I think he’s wasting his time if the public stance of AO and Geno is to be believed.

    Vintage Lou Lamoriello. He might be HOF material at some point.

  • http://www.illegalcurve.com Richard

    Bob, good angle on your comments. But even if that is the case, the NHL should not ask for compensation. The Olympics only spurs interest in the game and each Olympic season still has 82 games.

  • Mike

    What better attention grabber than the Olympics to capture fans after the Super Bowl. It appears on NBC primetime as the feature sport for the cost of zero dollars to the NHL. I mean if Lou wants to capitalize on the NFL season ending, this sounds like the perfect opportunity. And doesn’t the NHL play games immediately after the Super Bowl every other season? How well does that work? Oh wait, they’re sitting at home waiting for the All-Star game to play out the next weekend.

  • http://www.illegalcurve.com dave

    I’m all for keeping the NHL involved in the Olympics. It is the best showcase for the sport.