Road To The Olympic Games

Fasel angry at absent NHLers

International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel is miffed by the number of NHLers not competing in the Torino Olympic Winter Games.

Rene Fasel has a bone to pick with select NHL hockey players.

Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, admitted Saturday that he is disappointed by the sheer number of NHL players not participating in the Torino Olympic Winter Games.

The league is committed to sending players through the 2010 Vancouver Games.

"This is a platform here," Fasel said. "The Olympic Games (attract) 3.2 billion TV spectators, 200 countries.

"If we want to show our game to the world and make this promotion for hockey, for the game, for the NHL, for the IIHF, for the teams, this is the best place in the world.

Fasel further noted that Olympians tend to be patriotic and unselfish, whereas pros are guided by contractual obligations and monetary gain.

"Anyone who has this egoism, just to work for their own team or their own profit, they should forget that," he said.

Although injuries, such as those suffered by Team Canada's Ed Jovanovski (abdomen) and Scott Niedermayer (knee) and requiring surgery, cannot be avoided, Fasel was miffed by players like Finnish netminder Miikka Kiprusoff, who skipped the Torino Games simply to rest a sore hip.

"Nobody wants to question it, but it's hard," conceded Finnish forward Teemu Selanne, who plays for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

"We need a guy like him. It's kind of tough to watch him play every night and then say he cannot play in the Olympics.

"It's his call. We're going to go there without him."

"It's understandable," Finnish goaltender Tommy Salo recently told IIHF.com.

"Calgary is his employer and I think they want to control what's best for the team as well as the players."

Kiprusoff was replaced on Finland's roster by Antero Niittymaki of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Late Saturday, Boston Bruins forward Marco Sturm, one of three NHLers on Germany's roster, withdrew because of an undisclosed upper body injury.

with files from CP Online