Why NHLers have to go back to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games…
On February 24, 2014, Dobber commented in the Ramblings about the NHL's participation in the Olympics and hopes that they do not continue to do so in the future.
He made comments about the injuries to players and not being able to share the experience with family and friends because of the time-zone difference.
DobberHockey members commented about the injuries being a factor no matter what time of year. To illustrate that point, Eric Johnson hurt himself on September 23, 2008 playing a round of golf. He tore his ACL and MCL while driving a golf cart. Because of that he missed the whole 2008-09 season.
The members also commented about the time-zone difference/watching the games in prime time. If Dobber were to move to Japan, the UK or Australia in the future would Dobber expect the games to follow his time-zone too? The members did a good job at breaking this argument down.
Others have commented that the NHL shouldn't bend to the will of the Olympic committee, saying that none of the other leagues do. Well that isn't exactly true. Basketball doesn't have the schedule conflict, baseball isn't an Olympic sport at the moment and football doesn't even come close. Only one sport is affected similarly like hockey, that being soccer. I'll get back to this later.
The focus isn't really on those items as it is that Dobber feels that a World Cup is better suited to fit the NHL's (and its fans) needs instead of the Olympics. Suggesting that a tournament staged in early/mid-September would be a better option.
First, there is the issue of players not being in game shape. Not that they will not be ready to play but they will not be at their peak like they would be during the middle of the season, or even like at playoff time. So we would see the best versus the best but not at their best.
Second, there are limits to how much time players are to give in preparation of these special tournaments and the cost of insurance too. The Players Association would have to approve how much time players have to give up to their national teams and would the cost of insurance be shared equally among NHLPA and NHL teams? This was an issue in going to Sochi and I do not see how it is avoided here either. The only difference was that the NHL/NHLPA was asking the IOC to foot all or some of the costs.