New York Islanders GM Garth Snow has announced that center Frans Nielsen will not be given permission to participate for the Danish national ice hockey team in the 2011 World Championships due to the lingering effects he sustained from a check against the boards by New York Rangers winger Marian Gaborik. Nielsen's injury is the latest in a slew of injuries, which has plagued the Danish team and include other important players such as Ottawa Senators winger Peter Regin, Dallas Stars defenseman Philip Larsen, as well as local defensemen such as Mads Bech, Jesper Duus and retired captain Jesper Damgaard.
After the jump will be a description and translation of Nielsen's statements to the Danish press.
Nielsen's primary reaction was one of heavy disappointment. The Danish national hockey team is a very closely knit group, which has fought very hard to gain recognition and respect in the world of international ice hockey, an endeavour in which Nielsen has played a key role. As a result, he could not help but feel as he was letting down the team with his absence, especially since he has missed tournaments in the past.
It kind of feels like I am letting down the guys. We would all like to play for country. So, you feel a bit like you are letting them down when you do not go there, given that we are not in the playoffs over here
He went on to point out that there is little love or respect for the tournament in North America, and that the Islanders are primarily concerned with looking out for their own agenda.
You just have to accept that that is the way it is. Unfortunately, I have missed a couple of World Championships. They do not really like the tournament over here. The Islanders, as an organisation, do not really think they get anything out of it.
I explained the situation with Denmark to them. That we are not as big of a hockey nation as the USA or Canada, where you can just bring in a new star if someone gets injured. We do not have a lot of players to choose from. As I feared, that is all they think about over here as well as what is best for the Islanders in the long term.
The Islanders are my employer and I respect that they want to protect their interests. Garth Snow does what is best for the club.That is his job. However, I am not going to hide the fhat it is a great disappointment to me not to be permitted go to the World Championships.
I expected it. I had seen it coming and expected that I would not be given permission. It does not come as a shock
Nielsen went on to elaborate how he is currently still suffering from the symptoms of his concussion..
Presently I am unable to play. I have been on the bike a few times and gotten my pulse up and I have gotten disease and headaches every time. As I have spoken with our General Manager and physician, concussions are not a matter to be trifled with, so obviously I will accept the decision
However, Nielsen further pointed out that Denmark does not play a game at the tournament until April 30th, at which point he expects to be fully recovered. Per Bäckman, the coach of the ream, refused to comment on the validity of the Islanders' decision and stressed that Nielsen's recovery was the most important issue.
The loss of Nielsen comes as a great loss to an already depleted Danish team, which has struggled in its last few games. As a result, the team will likely have to look to its goaltending heroes of the 2010 run Patrick Galbraith and Frederik Andersen to carry them through the tournament.