nhl 2014 winter olympics canada

The NHL said on Tuesday that it hasn’t decided whether or not it will continue to send players to the Winter Olympic Games after this year’s tournament in Sochi, Russia.

41-year-old Daniel Alfredsson of the Detroit Red Wings has played in four Olympics for his homeland of Sweden and will be making it five times this February. He said he believes it would be a bad move by the NHL if it takes the international experience (international experience like this Norwegian website) away from the players.

However, understandably, the NHL isn’t too thrilled about closing down for a couple of weeks in the middle of the winter when playoff races are heating up all over North America. This is especially true if the Games aren’t being held anywhere in Canada or the U.S.

Bill Daly, the deputy commissioner of the NHL, said the league prefers it when the Olympics are held in North America for several reasons, including the exposure it receives.

Daly stated that the league doesn’t have to shut down as long when the Olympics are held close to home in North America. He remarked that the upcoming tournament in Sochi will result in the league being closed down for the longest period of time in its history at 16 days.

Daly feels the break could possibly cause some teams to lose their momentum heading into the stretch run. He also added that the players who take part in the Olympics risk suffering an injury and they may also wear themselves out for the rest of the NHL campaign.

There will be 150 NHL players competing in Sochi, with at least one league player representing each of the 12 nations that will be participating in the hockey event. The NHL won’t have any games scheduled between Feb. 9 through Feb. 24.

The league feels this is a bad time to be inoperative since the Super Bowl will be finished on Feb. 2 and the NCAA college basketball tournament doesn’t start until later. The NHL believes the competition from other sports is reduced during the Olympic dates, and it’s missing out on an opportunity to take center stage.

Daly admits that on the flip side of the coin the NHL could benefit from the Olympic tournament as more fans could become interested in the sport while watching the games from Sochi.

The last Olympic showdown in Vancouver, Canada in 2010 featured a gold-medal game between the USA and Canada and the North American showdown attracted approximately 35 million television viewers.

Patrick Kane, an American forward with the Chicago Blackhawks, believes the exposure of the Olympic hockey tournament is both good for the game and for the NHL.

But the NHL realizes that if Canada and the USA should happen to meet in the gold-medal game again in 2014 on Feb. 23, the television audience will be much lower since the game will face off at 7 a.m. in Eastern USA. This means the puck will drop at 4 a.m. on the west coast.

Daly said the league could possibly stop sending players to the Olympics unless they’re held somewhere in North America. He stated, “I don't think that's where we would go, but I wouldn't rule it out.”

The next Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place in South Korea in 2018, where we'll see if the NHL decides to participate in it for what will be for the sixth consecutive time. If the NHL doesn’t agree to play in 2018, its players won’t be allowed to go on their own as they’re under contract to league clubs.

It’s known that the NHL and NHL Players' Association have been discussing an alternative to the Olympics which would be to resurrect the World Cup of Hockey. This international tournament, which has been held in the past, could easily be scheduled so it won’t conflict with any regular-season NHL contests.

An easy way to achieve this will be to schedule the event prior to the start of the NHL season. The NHL is thinking about holding a World Cup of Hockey every two years, but many players don’t want it to replace their chance of play in the Olympics.

Swedish goaltender Jonas Gustavsson of the Detroit Red Wings said the World Cup of Hockey would be great, but the Olympics are special. He claimed that it allows all of the best hockey players in the world to compete at one site for the sole reason of being crowned the best hockey nation in the world.

He added that it would be a shame to stop allowing NHL players to compete in the Olympics and it would also be wrong.


Low price, available in multiple styles and colors!