The opening ceremonies for the Olympics are just a day away, and with all of the building anticipation, might Cam Neely have found himself swept up in the excitement?
In a word, nope.
The Bruins’ president joined Felger & Mazz on Thursday for his weekly chat, and he said that if anything, he has some more concern over this year’s games.
“It’s certainly greater than it was four years ago, from my perspective,” Neely said of his level of concern. “Just hearing about security and potential threats and whatnot, I didn’t really hear any of that during the Vancouver Olympics. So there is a concern for that, there’s no question.”
Neely, like anyone else who’s had Internet access this week, has seen the photos from Sochi that show a host city that might not be providing amenities that many North Americans are accustomed to having … such as plumbing. Neely said that how players feel about such facilities will likely depend on how well they play.
“It’s surprising, the stuff that you’re seeing and I’m seeing and most of the people that get in these tweets or picking up anything off the Internet about how unprepared they are. I think they’ve known for a while that they were hosting the Olympics,” Neely said of Russia. “I think the passion to play for your country will override it, but I think when you look back upon it, it’s dependent on how you do. If you win a gold medal, you don’t care about anything. But if you don’t make the medal round, you’ll probably be like, ‘Oh my God, what a waste, I hated it over there. It was terrible.’
“The way the players travel here and the accommodations they have, not just during the season but in the offseason, what they’re able to do for themselves is a lot different from what they’re getting over there. But I think they’re all right now saying, ‘I’m just thrilled that I’m part of the Olympic team and we’re going to go over there and try to do our best to try to bring home a medal.”
Neely said recently on Felger & Mazz that he’s against shutting down the world’s best hockey league for three weeks in order to let the players participate in the Olympics, a position he admits would likely be different if he were still a player. As for the future of NHL players in the Olympics, Neely believes how well this year goes will go a long way in determining it.
“I think it’s certainly going to make the league have a long, hard look at — OK, let’s see how the games go, let’s see what kind of viewership back in North America it’ll get.. Because we all know where it’s going four years from now [South Korea]. It’ll be interesting to see the dialogue after this Olympics is complete,” Neely said. “I certainly can see both sides, but from my perspective, I’m not playing. I think if I was playing, I’d probably say I’d like an opportunity to play for my country in the Olympics. On the other hand, this is the best league in the world and we’re shutting it down during the season, which is tough.
“We get one vote, just like all 30 teams do,” Neely added. “I would push on a no vote on four years from now, but who knows what the other 29 would feel like?”
Neely said he supports a World Cup, held in North America at the end of the summer, as a preferable option to the Olympics.
Neely also talked about his club playing without Zdeno Chara for two games, and on the team’s balanced scoring attack.