Monday, December 29, 2008
5. Czech Republic
6. United States
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...