The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/20/14 at 03:03 PM ET
Via RedWingsFeed, today's been a busy day in terms of Red Wings practice news and updates regarding Jakub Kindl (had a sprained MCL), Stephen Weiss (going to Grand Rapids for one game) and both Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco (appear on track to start the post-Olympic-break schedule with the Wings), but Red Wings associate coach Tom Renney's comments to CBS Detroit's Ashley Dunkak merit mentioning because Renney believes that the spate of Olympic-related injuries might require a response that would alter the shape of professional hockey players' participation:
Maybe the time has come with through the progression of, in Canada the Program of Excellence, and [in] the United States the National Development Program, where that now becomes an under-23 event,” Renney said, “and you re-engage the World Cup and have that on the quadrennial, let the young great players in our game, if that’s where they are, play at the under-23 level, if you will, and it still becomes an exciting and outstanding event.
“But maybe as the players get on, it doesn’t put them in such a precarious position in terms of injuries and fatigue and those types of things to come back to their club team and do what is expected of them as most likely leaders and all that kind of stuff on their teams,” Renney continued.
Renney is not fan of the concept of moving Olympic hockey to summer, however:
“It just doesn’t seem right to play hockey in the middle of the summer,” Renney said, “especially when you’re trying to convince hockey leaders and parents that it’s not such a bad idea to grab the soccer ball or the ball glove or the football, maybe give hockey a rest. It’s a great sport and the greatest sport we play, in my mind, but there is an opportunity to do other things for young people, and if you hold an event like that in the middle of the summer, it’s kind of an oxymoron.”
Update: Here's more from DetroitRedWings.com's Andrea Nelson:
If anyone sees both sides of the debate over NHL players taking part in the Winter Olympics it is Red Wings associate coach Tom Renney.
The last Canadians coach to lead a men’s ice hockey team completely comprised of amateurs to the Olympics, Renney understands both sides of the argument.
“It is a tough one, it’s a really tough one,” Renney said. “I think if I’m an owner and a general manager in this league I’m real skeptical of whether or not our guys should participate in this quite honestly. If I’m a player, I wanna go. Having been there I can relate to that.”
Players, coaches and owners know the injury risk involved in a short tournament with so much national pride at stake. Injuries are no different in the NHL regular season or the Stanley Cup playoffs, with the obvious exception: NHL owners pay the players’ salaries.
Based on his experience at the 1994 Lillehammer Games, Renney would have no problem with cheering on amateur players should the NHL chose not to send players to South Korea in 2018.
“We were picked to finish seventh or eighth or something like that and we ended up playing the last game of the tournament and losing a heartbreaker in a shootout,” Renney said. “It was really good and it doesn’t matter who’s wearing the jerseys for these countries, it’s certainly a proud moment for every one of them and the guys that get the nod again should be awfully proud of what they’ve been able to accomplish on behalf of their countries and certainly with their teammates as well. It’s a special time and it’s a time I’ll never forget.”
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.