Flyers

Jakub Voracek lashes out at Bill Daly, Gary Bettman over Olympic indecision

Flyers

TORONTO -- Commissioner Gary Bettman's stance on the NHL participation, or lack thereof, in the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea hasn't changed one iota and at least one Flyer -- Jakub Voracek -- remains upset.

"It's stupid and I find it absolutely ridiculous," said Voracek, who represented the Czech Republic at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

But during this week's NHL general manager meetings in Boca Raton, Florida, Bettman didn't provide any kind of update that would have made Voracek feel any better about the situation.

"There's absolutely nothing new," Bettman told reporters.
 
"And I think the overwhelming sentiment of the teams is that it's very disruptive on the season and there's somewhere between fatigue and negativity on the subject."
 
There remains a strong consensus among players throughout the league to attend the Winter Games, regardless of the logistical issues and time differences for broadcasts of games from Pyeongchang, South Korea.
 
"Unless something changes, we're not going," deputy commissioner Bill Daly told Canadian Press. "We've said that consistently for three months, so there's nothing new about that."
 
That comment, in particular, angered Voracek, who spoke to CSNPhilly.com during Thursday's morning skate hours before the Flyers' 4-2 defeat in Toronto.
 
"Absolutely ridiculous," Voracek said. "We have it once every four years. I read something that Bill Daly said we're not going. Nobody wants you to go.
 
"The players want to go. Why are you saying you're not going? You're not part of the players' association. ... Nobody wants you there. They want the players."
 
Bettman said the NHL is already putting together its schedule for next season and it doesn’t include an Olympic break.
 
Interestingly, Bettman did say that the league has strong interest in the 2022 Games in China, mentioning that those Games present the NHL with some strong business opportunities and partnerships.
 
"It's the Olympics," Voracek said. "It's not just about business. You want to be part of the Olympics. And trust me, players want to go. And the players who don't go get a week off to recharge their batteries. If you have bumps and bruises, you can heal and recover.
 
"The players want to go, I guarantee you that. I want to see how you are going to hold (Alex) Ovechkin back. The Russian players. Tell them they can't go."
 
While the NHL consistently harps on shutting down for up to 17 days, it hasn't stopped the league from going to the previous five Olympics.
 
One more thing -- that Bettman hasn't said flat-out that it's over means there is still time to salvage NHL participation.
 
After all, everything in life is negotiable.