Thursday, May 20, 2010

IIHF apologizes for ignorance

The IIHF President Rene Fasel apologized today for a ridiculous article posted on it's website entitled "Saying No To Your Country.  Fasel apparently called Pat Brisson, Crosby's agent, to apologize for the references in the article for his unwillingness to join Team Canada in Germany after he and his Pittsburgh Penguins were eliminated from the NHL Playoffs.  TSN is reporting that the story, written by IIHF communications director Szymon Szemberg, said players who chose not to participate were turning "their backs not only on the team and its fans but also to the system which developed them and made them rich and famous."

Among those peeved by the article include Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, and undoubtedly numerous NHL players and their fans due to the tone and intent of the article.



The article pulled no punches, naming Sidney Crosby, Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Backstrom amongst those considered the villains.

"Why is a 22-year-old Sidney Crosby tired when a 34-year-old Ryan Smyth is answering the bell for his country despite having represented Canada at the Worlds already on eight occasions?" he wrote, referring to Smyth, who was injured after the first game of the tournament.

"Players who say no to representing their country at the World Championship without a legitimate reason turn their backs not only on the team and its fans but also to the system which developed them and made them rich and famous.

"They should pay back, but they don't."

The IIHF really has its head up its you-know-what on this one.  They have absolutely no right to complain.  Crosby and Zetterberg represnt their country often.  They have played two full seasons including back-to-back runs to the Stanley Cup Finals, and attended the Olympic games three months ago.  For anyone, that is certainly a lot of hockey.

Not only that, but should the IIHF not look at its ridiculous format?  The very best players have played in the NHL for quite some time, yet this tournament takes place while the NHL Playoffs are in full swing.  Such a ridiculous time of year to hold the event will surely yield a poor crop of superstars.

The IIHF should wake up and hold its tournament when the best players in the world can attend - otherwise it's just a joke of a tournament that should not impact any kind of world rankings.  That is why Canada considers this tournament to be a joke.  It's not best on best.  Instead it's a few European squads packed with talent, while the rest of the teams send over rookies and minor professionals to fill their ranks.

Even Switzerland did not ice some of its best talent this year.  In case further evidence of the stupidity of the tournament's timing was needed, look no further than the four teams remaining in the NHL Playoffs.

Chicago, Philadelphia and San Jose boast no less than 9 members of Team Canada's Olympic Men's Hockey Roster.  Approximately half of the team's starting lineup.

It's a shame there isn't a best-on-best hockey tournament.  Oh, hang on, there is - and it happened only three months ago.  IIHF, if you wish to criticize NHL Players for not flocking - unpaid - to some arena in Germany for a few games, should you not pick a better time?  The grandest stage for men's hockey just took place in February, with a champion being named.  Could you imagine FIFA holding some international event three months after the World Cup, and vilifying anyone who cared not to attend?

Until you adjust your tournament to be best on best, you are never going to be held in the same regard as the Olympics, of the Canada / World Cup. 

2 comments:

  1. IIHF is a joke.. headquartered in France... that hockey hot bed!

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  2. Fuck the IIHF and it's stupid spring tournament, held every year during the Stanley cup payoffs. What a joke these Eurowanker idiots are. And they consistently rank Canada way below par, yet when the Olympics or any best on best tournament comes along we kick the shit out of their pet teams like Sweden. Hey IIHF is you're reading this, go fuck yourself, From Canada. The best hockey country ever.

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