No one will ever accuse Flyers chairman Ed Snider of not being passionate about his team, the company he founded, Flyer fans and, especially, his players.
He’s worn his passion on the cuffs of his tailored suits for almost five decades.
So when the subject came around to centerman Claude Giroux being snubbed a second time by Team Canada after Thursday's win over the Avalanche, the chairman was angry.
His assessment of Canadian general manager Steve Yzerman’s choice of Marty St. Louis over the Flyers' captain was vintage Snider.
“Well, it’s a farce,” Snider said. “He’s one of the best players in the league. It’s ridiculous. He’s better than half the guys on that team.”
Keep in mind here, Yzerman is also the GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning and his star player, Steven Stamkos, was not medically cleared to play.
Yzerman, quite frankly, acted as would most GMs in that spot in selecting someone from his own team to replace the player struck down by injury.
It doesn’t make it technically right, but politically speaking, it’s the right thing for any GM to do. Put Paul Holmgren in that same spot where he might have to replace a Giroux, and he would have done the same thing with another Flyer.
The Flyers are sending just five players to Sochi when the hockey competition begins next week. This is the first time in more than a decade no Flyer will represent either Canada or the United States.
“There’s a lot of good players to pick from, and I’m proud of the five guys that are on the Olympic teams,” Snider said. “I mean, they may not be great teams, but they’re great players and they’re in the Olympics. We don’t pick them, but anybody that thinks that Claude Giroux doesn’t belong on the Canadian team, they don’t know anything about hockey as far as I’m concerned.
“But it’s politics to a certain degree. He had to pick his own guy, and his own guy is good, but Claude is better.”
The bottom line here is quite simply this: had Giroux not been injured playing golf in the offseason, attended the pre-Olympic camp and gotten off to a good start instead of a horrendous one, he would have been on Team Canada.
His poor start to the season absolutely killed his chances to make the squad.
Does he deserve to go now? Yes, but the roster was already set, and Yzerman has to make a decision that preserves the relationship he shares with his own Lightning squad after the Olympics end.
And that’s what he did.