A month ago, the NHL and the NHLPA agreed to participate in the Winter Olympics for another year. But was it the right move?
Allowing players to participate in an event as large as the Olympics shouldn’t have been a difficult decision. Not many skaters throughout the NHL will even be given the chance to sport the colors of their countries, and even fewer will see a podium. And for those who are chosen, what opportunity can match that of being given the huge responsibility of representing one’s country before the entire world.
So what took them so long?
First, there’s the obvious pause mid-season for those lucky few to travel to Russia, participate and return home to battle out the rest of what will have already been an undeniably exhausting first five months of the season. Add to it that the league is still trying to recover from last year’s half-season lockout blunder, and one almost questions how the league can handle it financially. Throw into the mix that the majority of the league will be golfing, rehabilitating injuries and otherwise enjoying a two-week holiday, and it almost seems unfair to those few chosen to participate.
So with the good comes the bad. Participate, and you get the recognition of NHL fans and hockey fans around the globe, and the appreciation of your players who represented Team Whomever. Don’t, and you keep the money flowing a little easier, you keep the fans coming back night after night, and you don’t risk losing some of your best players to injury over a piece of metal.