February 15, 2010
When hockey gets started Tuesday at the Olympics, make sure you pay extra close attention, hockey fans. This could be the last Olympics for a while with NHL players, according to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.
The NHL has no commitment past this Olympics to provide players and create a break in its schedule. League execs and team front offices apparently really dislike making concessions for the Olympics, especially since the NHL doesn't see turns of upside unless you count potential injury to its biggest stars; an exhausting, overcrowded schedule during Olympic years; and no revenue gains during the two weeks of the Olympics.
"From an ownership standpoint, in the middle of the season, we would just as soon skip it," Rocky Wirtz, owner of the Chicago Blackhawks, told the newspaper. "It doesn't add any more to our sport."
Of course there are players who would want to play, anyway. The Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin(notes) has said that even if the NHL didn't provide a break, he would skip out and play for his Russian national team. And you can be certain he's not alone.
So this will be yet another subject for the two sides to squabble over in the near future.
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