-- New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow is not happy his team lost its best player to a season-ending injury in the Olympics.
John Tavares suffered tears to the MCL and meniscus in his left knee during Canada's quarterfinal win Wednesday and will miss the rest of the NHL season.
Snow said it's a "joke" that the IIHF and International Olympic Committee can use NHL players without reimbursing their teams when they get hurt. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has yet to commit the league's players to the 2018 Winter Games, and Tavares' injury provides a talking point for those who want professional players out of the Olympics.
"This is probably the biggest reason why NHL players shouldn't be in the Olympics, it should just be amateurs," Snow told Newsday. "And it could have happened to anyone; it just happened to be us that lost our best player."
Snow played for the United States in the 1994 Olympics, the last before NHL players were allowed to participate. He told Newsday he doesn't blame players for wanting to play for their countries, "but NHL players just shouldn't be over there. There's too much at stake."
The Islanders' playoff hopes were all but dashed with a poor stretch heading into the Olympic break, and any hope remaining had to be extinguished by the loss of Tavares. But Snow told Newsday that the injury will affect more than the team's record.
"A lot of people pay to see John play," he said. "It wouldn't matter if we were 10 points clear of a playoff spot or 10 points out. We lost our best player and he wasn't even [injured while] playing for us."