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Flyers chairman Snider slams NHL's Olympic break

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 7, 2014 at 2:16 am •  Published: February 7, 2014
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Steve Mason and the Flyers are playing their best hockey of the season heading into the Olympic break.

It's a break team chairman Ed Snider would love to abolish.

Mason stopped 38 shots, and Mark Streit and Michael Raffl scored goals, leading the Philadelphia Flyers past the Colorado Avalanche 3-1 on Thursday night.

Mason blanked Detroit 5-0 on Jan. 28 and stopped the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 on Feb. 1. He was only 2:50 away from his fourth shutout of the season, and third in five games, when Nathan MacKinnon beat him for his 21st goal of the season. Mason stopped his first 33 shots.

Mason, who signed a three-year extension last month, has been the key reason the Flyers have been able to hang around in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

With one game left before the break, the Flyers' recent spurt could stall because of the Olympics.

"I hate them," said Snider, the Flyers founder.

He added: "It's ridiculous, the whole thing is ridiculous. I don't care if it was in Philadelphia, I wouldn't want to break up the league. I think it's ridiculous to take three weeks off, or however long it is, in the middle of the season. It screws up everything. .. How can anybody be happy breaking up their season. No other league does it, why should we? There's no benefit to us whatsoever. If anything, I can only see negatives."

Reminded the Flyers reached the Stanley Cup finals during the last Olympics in 2010, Snider laughed.

"Maybe I like them," he said. "I forget about that."

Claude Giroux, who scored an empty-netter with 20 seconds left, has plenty of time to rest during the break. He was snubbed Thursday by Hockey Canada when Martin St. Louis was picked as an injury replacement for his Tampa Bay teammate Steven Stamkos.

Steve Yzerman, the Canadians' executive director and Tampa Bay's general manager, chose St. Louis over Giroux and Pittsburgh's James Neal.

"It's a farce," Snider said. "He's one of the best players in the game. It's ridiculous. He's better than half the guys on that team.

"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. It's politics, to a certain degree. He had to pick his own guy. His own guy is good, but Claude is better."

The Avalanche, who lost 5-1 to the New York Rangers on Tuesday, couldn't solve Mason until it was too late.

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