The Winter Olympic Games are a time of peace and sports. It is a time when the best athletes from all over the world come together for two weeks to demonstrate what they can do and bring honor to themselves and their countries.
In 1998, the NHLPA and the Olympics came to an agreement that would permit NHL players to play in the games. When this first happened, everyone loved the idea. All of the home countries loved that their national stars would be able to come back and represent their countries. The NHL loved it because it promoted their game to many audiences around the world!
Since that 1998 Olympics, the participation of the NHL stars has been fun. It was awesome to see Sidney Crosby have the game-winning goal in the Gold Medal game in Vancouver, if you are Canadian and not from the United States.
However, the 2014 Winter Olympics are ultimately not good for the NHL.
I know the NHL is trying to spread their game around the world, however, it is coming at a cost. If you look at the last Olympic season in 2010, the players that returned from the Games did not play up to the level that we are used to seeing from them for most important stretch of games of the season. No NHL fan wants to see a tired star player on their team struggling because they had to play in an Olympics for their home country. How does that help your team? It does not! Hurt and tired players are never good for the game or their careers as a whole.
Also, by having the NHL players play in this tournament, it does not promote the new and up-coming stars of the NHL. The Olympics used to feature amateur players who were the future of the NHL. This tournament promoted those young stars and was an outlet for the NHL and their fans to see the next generation of talent. It gave those players experience on a stage that is like no other. It also prevents their NHL stars from not getting hurt for their regular season.
If the NHL is about money, which every major sports league is, then the Olympics are a bad idea. If your players come back tired and you don’t make the playoffs, then you lose money. It is all about that for the NHL. For their fans, it’s all about winning in their season, not the short, fast-paced tournament of the Olympics.