Monday, December 29, 2008

Should NHLers Be Allowed To Go To 2010 Qualifying?

I'd like to raise a discussion on the qualifying games for the 2010 Olympic Games. The big question at hand is whether it's right to allow players under NHL contract to play in the qualifying games to gain entry to the Olympics. There will be twelve teams playing in the Olympic tournament. The first nine have already been selected, based upon the IIHF World Rankings:

1. Canada
2. Russia
3. Sweden
4. Finland
5. Czech Republic
6. United States
7. Switzerland
8. Slovakia
9. Belarus

Obviously, anyone from these countries need not worry about the qualifying games, but what about the others competing for the final 3 spots? Three more teams will qualify in February out of these three groups:

Group E – Host: Hanover, Germany
Germany, Slovenia, Austria & Japan

Group F – Host: Riga, Latvia
Latvia, Italy, Ukraine, Hungary

Group G – Host: Oslo, Norway
Norway, Denmark, France, Kazakhstan

A little side note: When I saw that Kazakhstan was competing, all I could picture was a team of Borat's playing hockey wearing jersey's with anti-semetic logos on them.

Anywho, a league source was asked the NHL’s position on having players participate in the qualifying games. He said:

“As a general matter, we wouldn't endorse players under NHL contract missing NHL games to play in Olympic qualifying tournaments. I would say generally up to the discretion of the Club, but I wouldn't want to see established NHL players playing overseas when their NHL teams are playing here. And I'm quite sure the NHL Clubs wouldn't allow them to. It comes down to development decisions.”


I think it'd be different if this guy was actually good enough to represent his country, in the Olympics. Although, he's probably American, so exactly how good do you really need to be...?

Most players that would head overseas to play would miss no more than 2 regular season games. Obviously, if they happened to play for the red wings, sharks, or any team guaranteed entry into the playoffs, those 2 games they'd miss wouldn't be too important. Even if they were on the other end of the spectrum playing for the islanders, or lighting, whose chances of making playoffs are worse than the chances of Andy Reid ever fitting into a bikini, even missing 2 games for them wouldn't pose to be too much of a problem.



Representing your country in the Olympics is quite the honor, and no one should get in the way of that, contract or not. I'd like to hear other people's thoughts on the subject. Feel free to share...

8 comments:

Vance said...

Isn't this the last Olympics that NHL players will be allowed to participate?

I believe the NHL has stated that its such a logistical nightmare that they won't be allowing players to go for the Olympics past Vancouver.

Missing 15 days in the middle of February pushes the NHL season into what, July?

Why isn't there just a World Cup of Hockey, where the best of the best play in the Summer (like the World Baseball Classic) and let the Junior kids play in the Olympics?

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Fact: BanginPanger is not meant as an insult to the one and only Darren Pang, nor do I claim to be him. The views and opinions presented on BanginPanger are of my own, and no other namesake of the site, the NHL, Buffalo Sabres, Washington Capitals, or anyone else.