I’m on Day Two of watching men’s hockey in Sochi, and the discussion of NHL participation in the Games has come up yet again. There’s talk that this could be the last time NHL stars will be allowed to participate for their countries. I’ve been thinking about this, and you know I have some questions/comments on it.
1. Okay, fine, you don’t want NHL guys in the Olympics. Who do you get to replace them? This is easier for other countries, but the US and Canada have nothing but those guys on their rosters.
2. “Well, we could replace them with college guys.” For the US, maybe. But what about Canada?
3. While were on that subject, let me draw on my experience as a college student. Whereas the NHL can shut down for two weeks, colleges can’t. The rosters are announced during winter break, so guys would have to scramble to contact their professors and try to work out some kind of syllabus especially for them during that time. Now, most professors don’t follow their syllabi to the letter – class cancellations and other interruptions can derail the schedule. This would make it even harder for players to follow along. And it’s not just one class, it’s three or four at the least AND the players won’t come from just one or two schools.
4. Finally…really? You’re whining about a quadrennial two-week shutdown? The league literally shut down for four months. Two weeks out of a season is not going to hurt. It’ll give guys who need a break time to recharge, and others who are injured can have an extra two weeks to heal.
5. Bonus: if the NHL isn’t going to send their best, then the NBA shouldn’t send their best to the Summer Olympics, right?
Okay, time to rest and recover from a full morning and early afternoon of hockey. I need (another) nap.