The 2014 NHL and fantasy hockey season is very different than last season. The NHL is not on strike as it was last season, and is planning on playing an entire season. This is great for fans of the game and fantasy hockey enthusiasts everywhere.
However, there is one major problem that all fantasy hockey owners need to worry and think about during the second half of the season. That problem is the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Many fans love to see their country’s favorite professional stars play in these games, representing their home countries. The NHL loves it because they can sell Olympic jerseys of their league’s popular players and make more money. It also helps their sport gain more popularity with fans that may not usually watch hockey in other countries, as well as in North America.
This is not a good thing for fantasy hockey managers.
First off, the Olympic break makes the second half of the season a sprint to the finish. This is great for fans, because hockey will seem nonstop after the break. However, that means with less time to rest and the games being more important during that stretch, there is a greater chance for injuries. If a player like Patrick Kane plays for Team USA, he does not have any time to really rest up for the remainder of the season. Players like this tend to struggle in a packed NHL season, as well as the vigorous playoff season.
Also, the main concern is an injury to your player. In the Olympics, fighting does not happen. However, players still hit each other just as hard, if not harder. Let’s say a player like Brooks Orpik for Team USA puts a hit on Alexander Ovechkin from Team Russia. Ovechkin gets hurt and plays hurt through the rest of the Olympics. Come time for the NHL regular season, Ovechkin has this lingering injury and does not produce for the Washington Capitals or for his fantasy managers.
These are things that you really do not want to hear going into the homestretch of the fantasy hockey season. If you are a fantasy owner of a player like Marc-Andre Fleury, for example, you should be happy if he does not make Team Canada. Not only will a player like Fleury be fresh for the rest of the season, but he will also have a chip on his shoulder to prove to the world that he was the right man for the job and that they were wrong not selecting him to play for his country.
I love the Olympics, like many other sports enthusiasts, however, I hate that professional athletes play in the games. I am loyal to Team USA, but I am also loyal to my favorite NHL team and my fantasy hockey team. All it takes is one or two bad blocked shots in these games to end your fantasy season.