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Jakub Voracek: NHLers in 'no-win situation' with 2018 PyeongChang Olympic argument

Jakub Voracek: NHLers in 'no-win situation' with 2018 PyeongChang Olympic argument

NEWARK, N.J. -- A showdown is looming between commissioner Gary Bettman and the NHL's players over the league's non-participation in the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea.

On Monday, Bettman laid out his reasons (break in the schedule, time difference, financial gain, etc.) in announcing that the league will bypass the PyeongChang Winter Games.

Ironically, the league intends to go to China in 2022 because of that country's vast marketing potential. Yet the IOC has already stated that participation is arbitrary. You miss one Olympics, don't expect to attend another.

A day after the NHL's announcement, to no one's surprise, Alex Ovechkin said that regardless of what the owners do as a league, he and other Russian players intend to play for Team Russia.

"Yeah, I didn't change my mind and I won't," Ovechkin told reporters on Tuesday after the morning skate at Air Canada Centre.

Why go?

"Because it's my country," Ovechkin said. "I think everybody wants to play there. It's the biggest opportunity in your life to play in the Olympic Games. So, I don't know, somebody [is] going to tell me, 'Don't go,' I don't care, I just go."

Canadiens goalie Carey Price told the CBC: "I feel it's very disappointing. I feel like we're shortchanging some of the younger players of that opportunity. It's tough to swallow for some of those kids for sure."

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist tweeted: 

Flyers forward Jakub Voracek wants to play for the Czech Republic and sounded torn over what decision he'll make.

Is this the end, or is this more like a ploy from Bettman to get something from the players, like an extension of the current CBA?

"I don't know," Voracek replied. "I'm still hoping that somehow we'll find a way to go there. You can see every single player wants to go. But we really don't have the power."

Voracek isn't sure he would defy the league and attend, either. He said he feels loyalty to the Flyers who pay his salary.

"Tough question," he replied. "Ovechkin is a three-time Hart Trophy winner. He has a little different position than me here in Philly. It's something as a player, you consider it. But in the end, it's hard to say whether I would go over. I don't know the answer.

"If you don't go, you feel like an a------ for the Czechs. If you go, you feel like an a------ to the guys here and toward the organization. This is a no-win situation in this case, for sure."

The NHLPA clearly wants the players going to every Olympics. Part of the union's statement read:

"The players are extraordinarily disappointed and adamantly disagree with the NHL's shortsighted decision to not continue our participation in the Olympics.

"Any sort of inconvenience the Olympics may cause to next season's schedule is a small price to pay compared to the opportunity to showcase our game and our greatest players on this enormous international stage." 

Former Flyers goalie Ray Emery dies at 35

Former Flyers goalie Ray Emery dies at 35

Former Flyers goaltender Ray Emery died Sunday morning. First responders pulled his body out of Hamilton Harbour, where he had been swimming with friends. An investigation into the cause of death is still ongoing. 

Emery was 35.

According to local authorities, Emery was checking out a friend’s boat docked at Royal Hamilton Yacht Club when the group he was with decided to jump in the water around 6:30 a.m. Emery’s body never surfaced and was eventually recovered around 2:50 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Hamilton police say Emery’s body was recovered in close proximity to where he was last seen.

Emery was last seen publicly with a handful of his former teammates Saturday night as the goaltender participated in Zac Rinaldo’s charity hockey game in Hamilton. Emery can be seen standing during the playing of “O Canada.”

"The Philadelphia Flyers are stunned and extremely saddened to hear of the tragic passing of former Flyers goaltender Ray Emery," president Paul Holmgren said in a statement from the team. "Ray was an outstanding teammate and an extremely gifted goaltender. He had exceptional athleticism, was a fierce competitor and battled in every game he played with the Flyers.

"His performances through the 2009-10 season were a very big part of the team's success in making the playoffs and reaching the Stanley Cup Final. Ray's talent, work ethic and determination helped him enjoy a successful 11-year NHL career. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time."

Several of Emery’s former teammates over the years offered their condolences via Twitter after learning of the tragedy.

Former Flyer Daniel Carcillo shared the he was crushed by the news (NSFW).

Jakub Voracek also shared his condolences (NSFW).

Emery joined the Flyers in June 2009 on a one-year contract, shutting out the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 in his Flyers debut. The goaltender’s first stint in Philadelphia was cut short when he suffered a muscle tear in his abdomen in December missing the remainder of the season. Emery was later diagnosed with avascular necrosis — a degenerative condition to the bone tissue in his hip.

After undergoing successful surgery, Emery eventually joined the Ducks before winning a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013. Impressively, Emery finished the regular season with a 17-1-0 record. He re-signed with the Flyers that summer as a backup to Steve Mason.

Emery’s most infamous moment in Philadelphia came during an ugly 7-0 loss to the Washington Capitals on November 1, 2013, as the Flyers netminder pummeled Caps goalie Braden Holtby during a line brawl in the early stages of the third period.

Emery faced criminal charges over a handful of off-the-ice incidents and altercations. Most recently, he was arrested for assault with a weapon in 2017 against former fiancé Keshia Chanté. 

Emery played a total of 287 NHL games, 88 with the Flyers. 

Flyers' Danick Martel accepts qualifying offer; team re-signs Taylor Leier and Tyrell Goulbourne

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Flyers' Danick Martel accepts qualifying offer; team re-signs Taylor Leier and Tyrell Goulbourne

Updated: 9:44 p.m.

Three young forwards will all be staying in the Flyers organization, at least for one more year.

Sunday, the team announced that Danick Martel accepted his qualifying offer on a one-year contract, and that restricted free agents Taylor Leier and Tyrell Goulbourne signed one-year deals.

Restricted free agent goalie Anthony Stolarz has also accepted his qualifying offer of $761,250, according to a report from John Hoven. Stolarz, 24, played in just one game for the Phantoms in the 2017-18 season after undergoing surgery on a meniscus tear last summer. A second-round pick by the Flyers in the 2012 draft, Stolarz went 18-9 and posted a 2.92 goals against average with Lehigh Valley in 2016-17.

Though the team didn't include any salary details, Martel's deal is reportedly a two-way contract worth $715,000.

The 23-year-old Martel made his NHL debut last season, finishing with no points and six shots over four games. He scored a career-best 25 goals for Lehigh Valley.

With Leier, the Flyers avoided a possible arbitration hearing. According to CapFriendly, Leier's contract is a one-way deal for $720,000. Leier's hearing was scheduled for Aug. 3. The team also earlier avoided a hearing with Alex Lyon, their other player who filed for arbitration, signing the goalie to a two-year deal.

A fourth-round selection in 2012, Leier had one goal and four assists in 39 regular-season games with the Flyers as a rookie.

Goulbourne, who made his NHL debut on Jan. 6, appeared in nine regular-season contests, with 15 hits.

If Stolarz is indeed back in the fold, Robert Hagg would be the team's only remaining restricted free agent. 

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