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Ducks' players considering security concerns regarding family travel

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- In six days, Ryan Getzlaf will begin his quest for a second Olympic gold medal when Canada faces Norway in its opening men's hockey contest at the Sochi Games.

His family won't be there to watch.

Players generally want their families to join them for the Olympic experience, and many will travel to Russia, if they weren't already there Friday for the opening ceremony.

But the Ducks captain has opted to have his family remain in Southern California, partly because he and his wife Paige have two toddler-aged sons and he's concerned about forcing them to deal with the 12-hour time difference.

Perhaps more important, Getzlaf is also cognizant of the security issues that have surrounded the Sochi Games. Militant and radical terrorist groups have threatened to stage an attack during the 17-day competition.

"It played in a little bit," Getzlaf said. "We originally were going to take the kids. My wife and everybody were going to come. As we talked about it more and more, and obviously with that kind of stuff, it was just our own decision what was best for our kids as opposed to us."

Getzlaf said his wife would have made the trip if they had no children. Teemu Selanne is bringing his wife, Sirpa, but the couple opted to keep their kids in school as he takes part in his sixth Olympiad competing for Finland.

"I think we're all concerned," Selanne said. "It's a big issue. Nobody likes the situation where you go to be afraid. I think the Olympic Village is going to be a very safe place. I heard that security is unbelievable there.

"But, still, for the families and where they stay, you never know. It's a different story. So I understand the people's decision not to bring their families there."

However, Selanne said he believes Sochi is one of the safest places in the world because of his feeling that Russian president Vladimir Putin and the host nation "want to make sure everything is perfect there."

"This is going to be a big deal for them," the winger said.

Getzlaf said he believes he is informed about any potential dangers and is going with peace of mind for his own safety.

"Hockey Canada does a great job of explaining things and getting information," he said. "They had a big family call the other day and provided details and discussed what the situation was over there and all those things.

"It sounded like they're doing a pretty good job and they're taking all the precautions they can. Hopefully everything goes well."

Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said he is aware of reports of potential threats. It isn't stopping his mom Bridget and dad Perry from watching their son in person as he tries to help bring a medal home to the United States.

"Honestly, I'm not really worried at all," Fowler said. "I know that they wouldn't send us over there if it was a dangerous environment for us to be in. I know the security in all the things that they're doing for the Olympics, all those things are going to be in place.

"I know that me and my teammates, everyone over there, my family, we all have faith that we'll be taken care of. It's really just in the back of my mind right now."

Getzlaf isn't worried about feeling secure.

"I'm sure there'll be guns all over the place," he said.

SELANNE TO SIT

Selanne will not play against the Nashville Predators on Saturday night in order to get extra rest for the Olympics.

Meanwhile, Nick Bonino accompanied the team to Nashville and took part in the workout. Bonino has missed the past three games because of an upper-body injury but is eligible to come off injured reserve.

(c)2014 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services


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