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Offseason Opinions: Olympic Dreams

Should the NHL return to the Games?

USA Mike Eruzione, 1980 Winter Olympics SetNumber: X24199 TK1

Rolling right along, let’s tackle a topic of international proportions.

Should NHL players be in the Olympics?

J.P.: I like the allure of a best-on-best tournament of nations in theory, but is it worth jacking up the regular season for and putting NHL teams’ seasons on the line? Not to me (but, admittedly, I don’t have a huge interest in growing the game abroad and such). And if you don’t have the best players in the world in the tournament, you shouldn’t have any professionals because then it’s, what, the Spengler Cup, basically? I think the ship has sailed on the Olympics attracting all of the best players and being a truly great tournament - these guys just make too much money (and the owners have too much invested) to justify the risk.

Luke: I go back and forth on this. I think the Olympics is a great way to grow the game, it’s the best players in the world going at it, it’s some great entertainment. But I also don’t like stopping the season for 2+ weeks to get it done.It also opens the door to have your best players get hurt and now you lose them going into the last part of the regular season and potentially the playoffs. I think I lean towards not letting players go but seems unfair to the guys that want to play for their country. Tough call. Basically, if they aren’t allowed to go I’m fine and if they are allowed to go I’m fine. Call me Switzerland.

Rob: Nobody should go to the Olympics. You’ll have a hard time finding a more corrupt organization, human rights abuses are seemingly inherent with these events, and the NHL gets nothing out of it. Go back to the World Cup best-on-best so they can do it on their schedule, on their terms, in countries that care about hockey. The only reason to keep sending NHL players to the Olympics is to prevent Russia from adding more JV medals to their international record.

Peerless: OK…grumpy old fart moment. The short answer for me is, “I don’t care.” I think the Games have always had more than a whiff of corruption to them to the point where they have become, in my view, obscene in how host cities are selected and how the IOC exists pretty much for the care and feeding of itself at the expense of the communities that end up hosting the Games. And that is before the tortured and transparent attempts to create syrupy “feel good” moments in pursuit of TV ratings. This might seem off the subject, but it is the subtext for the “I don’t care” comment. I don’t follow either the Winter or Summer Games to any meaningful degree, and whether the league participates or not is not something I spend much time thinking about. If I have to come down on one side or the other, I have a slight tilt toward “no,” if for no other reason than I don’t want to see any Capitals exposed to the risk of injury that would hurt the team’s chances to win an NHL championship, which matters far more to me as a hockey fan than the Olympics.

Okay, we’ve had our say. Now it’s your turn! Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below, and catch up on our past offseason opinions here: