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NHL Players Put To Bed Notion Las Vegas’ “Distractions” Will Affect Play

It’s one of the silliest arguments anyone can make about the city of Las Vegas and why it will or will not succeed or not as home to an NHL franchise, but it won’t seem to go away. It’s the notion Las Vegas offers so many off-ice distractions that both home and visiting players will be unable to maintain focus on hockey.

Hockey reporting’s top Josh, Josh Cooper of Puck Daddy, asked the same basic question to a number of NHL players and not surprisingly, because NHL players aren’t complete morons, got similar answer from every single one.

The question was, “Are you worried about distractions?” Here were a couple of the answers…

There’s distractions in every city and in Nashville there’s distractions for the opposing teams. But if you go to Dallas, LA, you go to all these other cities. There’s distractions anywhere you go. Guys are professionals and I don’t think it’s going to be any different or be pulling guys any harder in any other city. -Shea Weber, Nashville Predators

If you want to find trouble you can find it anywhere. If you want to party and drink and have a good time you can do it anywhere. I think guys in this league are professional. They understand we have a job to do on the ice. It’s not going to be party central every time we come here. -Matt Martin, New York Islanders

And that’s just two of the six he spoke to. Read them all here.

It’s time to put this crap to bed. I tried back in September to squash the myth, but best be sure that didn’t stop lazy journalists and broadcasters everywhere from continuing to pump the ridiculous narrative into the minds of hockey fans.

Next time you read this garbage on Twitter or hear it on the radio, point them back to this article and say, “who knows better about the topic off-ice distraction, you or Shea Weber?”

That should shut em up.

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2 Comments

  1. Karen

    The thing is, I’m not sure a player who WANTED to wander onto the strip for some trouble would have the time.

    Article 16.8 of the CBA prohibits clubs from traveling on game days. Exception is only made if the flight is less than 2.5 hrs, the team is on a back-to-back, or other extenuating circumstances such as severe weather delayed timely departure.

    Also in Article 16.8, clubs are guaranteed only a ~minimum~ of 9 hours of “off time” between arriving in a city and reporting to their first obligation on the day of an away game (this off time is presumably used for sleep).

    So, between practice skates/workouts/maintenance, team meetings, media scrums, meals, naps, and all the other stuff they do leading up to a game, would they even have time to get “distracted?”

    (And I know I read this somewhere in January during a minor kerfuffle involving a player and whether he did a thing in a club in LA following a game against the Kings, but I’ll be damned if I can find the source now: I believe players are penalized for not traveling with the team on the charter. So in the event of a two-day gap before or after a game in Vegas, a player deciding to arrive early or hang back to enjoy the Strip actually has plenty of incentive NOT TO.)

    These guys are professionals who have a job to do just like the rest of us. A player who lets himself “get distracted” in Vegas is probably letting himself get distracted in every city he visits, and at home as well.

    Let’s be honest, too; a player like that wouldn’t be in the league for long because his performance would suffer and he’d get replaced by a guy who DOESN’T get distracted.

    Personally, I feel like this “distraction” argument is extremely insulting to the players.

    • Karen

      because I like to be thorough, I’ll add that I found the part of the CBA that requires traveling with the team, Exhibit 14 Section 3 (a): “Any Player who misses a scheduled team flight is responsible for paying his own travel to the city in which he meets his Club. He is also subject to fine.”

      The fine amount isn’t stated, so I guess it’s not like the consequences are STEEP, but it’s the sort of thing that press would pick up on, probably the player would get bag skated or benched for a game, and there would be bad PR etc., so I don’t anticipate too many players will do it.

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