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The NHL and the Olympics

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Old
09-10-2008, 01:33 PM
  #1
rebel diamond
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The NHL and the Olympics

This is in relation to the thread below discussing a possible World Cup for 2012. If this was posted before, feel free to close the thread, but I couldn't find it, so here it goes.

I know many people have complained about having pro (mainly NHL) players at the Olympics, based on both the arguments that pro players don't really integrate into their respective Olympic teams and don't represent Olympic spirit, and that the quality of play in Olympic ice hockey simply isn't as high as it should be with all the great players in attendance. Some people (myself included) feel that Olympic hockey should be for junior players, and could take the World Junior's place in Olympic years.

After hearing some of the comments from the IOC regarding baseball and basketball during the Beijing Olympics, this is simply not going to happen. The IOC said basketball was a huge Olympic success despite American dominance because of the attention the stars drew to the game. I believe Yao Ming and Kobe Bryant were specifically mentioned.

Baseball (and Softball, but we'll ignore that for now) is not going to be on the program for London 2012. A cynic would say that is because none of the European countries that have large numbers of IOC votes are strong in the sport, despite its prominence in the Americas and East Asia. A conspiracy theorist would even go as far as saying it is being dropped to open room for Rugby, which would be a huge it in the UK. When asked by a reporter from NBC regarding what it would take to get Baseball back in the games the reply was that they needed the game's biggest stars, and as a specific example said Alex Rodriguez.

The message seems clear that the IOC knows what gets people and sponsors interested, and that is having big-name players competing, and cares little about level of competition or Olympic spirit. For those reasons, I can not see in the near future an Olympics without pro players unless the NHL (or maybe even the KHL, but I doubt that seeing that Russia will be hosting the next Winter Olympics) forces the IOC's hand.

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09-10-2008, 02:19 PM
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NHL should withdraw from the olympics because it is so corrupt, being associated with it tarnishes it's image. Look at this article, only 5000 tickets are even available to the canadian public, the other 70% are reserved for the dignitaries of the IOC gravy boat circus.

The olympic tournement disrupts the NHL season too. For a premier international hockey tournement they should work with the IIHF to change the world championship date so it doesn't conflict with the NHL season, or setup a new "Canada Cup" style tournement themselves. The olympics need the NHL a lot more than the NHL needs it, and the olympics are such a corrupt money greased mess right now, NHL is right to pass on it after 2010.

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09-10-2008, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel diamond View Post
The message seems clear that the IOC knows what gets people and sponsors interested, and that is having big-name players competing, and cares little about level of competition or Olympic spirit.
They do care about the level of competition and Olympic spirit, and that's exactly why they want the top players in the sport, because that is the Olympic spirit.


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For those reasons, I can not see in the near future an Olympics without pro players unless the NHL (or maybe even the KHL, but I doubt that seeing that Russia will be hosting the next Winter Olympics) forces the IOC's hand.
Even if the NHL withdraws, the Olympics will still be played by pro players.

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09-11-2008, 12:48 AM
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Even if the NHL withdraws, the Olympics will still be played by pro players.
Pro players maybe, but not top-flight pros. If the NHL and/or NHLPA withdraws by not altering its schedule, expect the Olympics to be populated by career AHLers and European league players. If that were to happen, I believe it would indeed for the IOC to consider something along the lines of men 's soccer, in which under 21 teams and not senior national teams compete.

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09-11-2008, 03:32 AM
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Originally Posted by rebel diamond View Post
Pro players maybe, but not top-flight pros. If the NHL and/or NHLPA withdraws by not altering its schedule, expect the Olympics to be populated by career AHLers and European league players. If that were to happen, I believe it would indeed for the IOC to consider something along the lines of men 's soccer, in which under 21 teams and not senior national teams compete.
Going under-21 would mean a huge drop in quality from a tournament with European league players. There is just no reason why the IOC would purposedly weaken their own tournament.

Football is under-23 with three overagers allowed, not under-21. And it is under-23 because FIFA insisted it be, whereas in the hockey the IIHF has always insisted the top players be there, to the point where in 1998 and 2002 they got out of their way to accomodate the NHL with a ridiculous format. Not to mention full strength football teams would completely overshadow the rest of the Olympics, which is not the case with ice hockey.

So as you said it's not going to happen, and there is simply no reason why it should.

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09-11-2008, 05:15 AM
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I suspect if the NHL opts out of the 2014 OG, there will be a mass exodus of whatever is left of Euro players by that time, sometime around year 2012-2013. Can't see AO's, malkins and the likes miss the home OG.

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09-11-2008, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Den View Post
I suspect if the NHL opts out of the 2014 OG, there will be a mass exodus of whatever is left of Euro players by that time, sometime around year 2012-2013. Can't see AO's, malkins and the likes miss the home OG.
Mod Edit: deleted. They're not going to go AWOL on their contracts for a relatively meaningless (compared to stanley cup) 1 week tournement.


Last edited by Fugu: 09-11-2008 at 11:10 AM. Reason: personal comments
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09-11-2008, 08:13 AM
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Olympic hockey is one of few winter olympic sports I watch on tv. If you take out the NHLers that ruins the game. They have the world championships everyyear and that competition is filled with lower tier players. Its also a lot less popular...and interesting

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09-11-2008, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Turboflex View Post
Mod Edit: deleted. They're not going to go AWOL on their contracts for a relatively meaningless (compared to stanley cup) 1 week tournement.
I think you underestimate the importance of the olympics for many players. I could definately see some players paying a fine (or whatever it is) for leaving their NHL teams during olympic games......especially if it's in their homeland. Heck, Mario Lemieux even intentionally missed Penguins games to make sure he was well rested for 2002 olympics.


Last edited by Fugu: 09-11-2008 at 11:10 AM. Reason: deletion in quoted portion
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09-11-2008, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selanne08 View Post
Olympic hockey is one of few winter olympic sports I watch on tv. If you take out the NHLers that ruins the game. They have the world championships everyyear and that competition is filled with lower tier players. Its also a lot less popular...and interesting

but who watches the WJC every year and those players are required to have permission to play if they were previously draft-eligible, because the majority of that tournament is played in direct competition to the NHL, AND ITS development arm aka the AHL. iN FACT SOME players are barred by the teams that drafted them from playing in those tournaments.

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09-11-2008, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jekoh View Post
Going under-21 would mean a huge drop in quality from a tournament with European league players. There is just no reason why the IOC would purposedly weaken their own tournament.
It would be a drop from a maturation and development standpoint but the top players would still be more skilled than all but a select few Euroleague players. It may not be to the IOC's liking but the NHL decides whether they send their players, not the IOC.

And sending nations' WJC teams would be just as marketable as sending a bunch of European and AHL based players. At least WJC teams will always have a number of the games brightest young stars and the Olympics would be the biggest stage possible to introduce many of them to the world.

Regardless of their age, those Ovechkin-Crosby battles in past WJC or the looming Tavares-Hedman showdown would still be huge successes. The quality of play is still very high and you will seldom find more compelling sports drama than in the World Junior tournament. (barring the every fifth~ year where the Canadian team at one age group is simply too stacked)

I still say the best solution is to forego the normal WJC every Olympic year and have every country send their World Junior team.

Then to ensure we still see a best on best tournament, postpone the World Championships every fourth year until after the NHL playoffs and raise it's status to a World Cup. It'll be tough for some players to want to play given the gruelling playoffs but if you can get players to buy into the necessity of a best on best tournament, it can a success.

There really are no great solutions but this is as good as I can see. (assuming the NHL does not believe the Olympics are a truly viable option)

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09-11-2008, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willie View Post
It would be a drop from a maturation and development standpoint but the top players would still be more skilled than all but a select few Euroleague players. It may not be to the IOC's liking but the NHL decides whether they send their players, not the IOC.

And sending nations' WJC teams would be just as marketable as sending a bunch of European and AHL based players. At least WJC teams will always have a number of the games brightest young stars and the Olympics would be the biggest stage possible to introduce many of them to the world.

Regardless of their age, those Ovechkin-Crosby battles in past WJC or the looming Tavares-Hedman showdown would still be huge successes. The quality of play is still very high and you will seldom find more compelling sports drama than in the World Junior tournament. (barring the every fifth~ year where the Canadian team at one age group is simply too stacked)

I still say the best solution is to forego the normal WJC every Olympic year and have every country send their World Junior team.

Then to ensure we still see a best on best tournament, postpone the World Championships every fourth year until after the NHL playoffs and raise it's status to a World Cup. It'll be tough for some players to want to play given the gruelling playoffs but if you can get players to buy into the necessity of a best on best tournament, it can a success.

There really are no great solutions but this is as good as I can see. (assuming the NHL does not believe the Olympics are a truly viable option)
I don't think moving or elevating the WJC to directly compete w/the Stanley Cup means that happens in July or even not holding it every other year(the Olympics are now on a 2 yr cycle on an alternating basis which already suspends the NHL Season and effectively cancels the mid-season Stars weekend that happens each year.

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09-11-2008, 07:12 PM
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From a fan standpoint I'd love to see the WJC's go to the Olympics if the NHL doesn't want to play after 2010. I'd have to see how all the logistics played out. I don't know enough to say "yeah it would work" or "No it wouldn't". We're still looking at 5 plus years before 2014, and who knows what may happen. The NHL may decide after all to keep going- I think the next CBA talks will go a long way to deciding that.

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09-12-2008, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by willie View Post
And sending nations' WJC teams would be just as marketable as sending a bunch of European and AHL based players.
No it would not. Junior players are nobodies and most people don't give a **** about the WJC. WJC players are a bunch of Elitserien 4th-liners if that. Of course Elitserien top liners are more marketable and much better players.


Last edited by Fugu: 09-12-2008 at 11:08 AM. Reason: filter
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09-12-2008, 03:57 PM
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No it would not. Junior players are nobodies and most people don't give a **** about the WJC. WJC players are a bunch of Elitserien 4th-liners if that. Of course Elitserien top liners are more marketable and much better players.
I don't think he said that they were better players, but more people would get excited to see the future Crosbys and Ovechkins then would get excited to see Magnus Johansenn from Lulea or Alexei Ivanovich from Siberia...

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09-12-2008, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel diamond View Post
I don't think he said that they were better players, but more people would get excited to see the future Crosbys and Ovechkins then would get excited to see Magnus Johansenn from Lulea or Alexei Ivanovich from Siberia...
Maybe in Canada and the United States, but it does not apply to the public in Europe.

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09-12-2008, 04:44 PM
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It would incense the Russians, but with the NHL already leaning towards withdrawal after Vancouver, and the deteriorating relations with Russian hockey, a NHL decision to skip Sochi is a very real possibility.

There was ample discussion that NHL teams were less than enthusiastic about taking this break every fourth February, traditionally the league's peak sports drawing time of year, and that they only relented on Vancouver because travel was minimal and the Canadians strongly applied pressure to go. The NHL doesn't make much money out of the deal, not like the World Cup. Most of it goes to IIHF and the Olympic Federations. Were it being held in any other country, 2010 would have been threatened.

Following Vancouver, many league voices had already been intimating that this would be it for Olympic participation. That was before the IIHF transfer expiration, the sniping between NHL and KHL, the questions concerning player contract inviolability... it certainly looks very possible.

The Russian hockey federation is not exactly wooing the NHL to come to Sochi, and the NHL has not been that keen on folding up shop for two weeks anyway.

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09-12-2008, 05:13 PM
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Maybe in Canada and the United States, but it does not apply to the public in Europe.
Exactly. Also, the two are not mutually exclusive : if a junior-aged player is good enough, he's going to be selected in the senior team anyway, while the reverse is not true in the case of a tournament limited to juniors.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel diamond
I don't think he said that they were better players, but more people would get excited to see the future Crosbys and Ovechkins then would get excited to see Magnus Johansenn from Lulea or Alexei Ivanovich from Siberia...
How about Jagr from Siberia ? More people would be interested in seeing the actual Ovechkin but you insist the Olympics should do without him...

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09-12-2008, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jekoh View Post
Exactly. Also, the two are not mutually exclusive : if a junior-aged player is good enough, he's going to be selected in the senior team anyway, while the reverse is not true in the case of a tournament limited to juniors.



How about Jagr from Siberia ? More people would be interested in seeing the actual Ovechkin but you insist the Olympics should do without him...
Jagr's been there and done that, no one here in North America is likely to miss Jagr and it was his decision to move on.

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09-16-2008, 10:33 AM
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Article from the Globe and Mail about insurance costs becoming a barrier to players attending any international competition.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servl...ory/Front/home

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09-16-2008, 11:32 AM
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Article from the Globe and Mail about insurance costs becoming a barrier to players attending any international competition.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servl...ory/Front/home
Wow $800g's to cover Ovechkin for a 2 week tournement thats insane. This has gotta be the end of top pros playing in IIHF tournements.

I wonder, as an alternative could the NHL run a tournment instead during NHL pre-season period? So basically instead of playing 6 pre-season games, invited players would be shifted to tournement games instead. It would be short but doable. This might be covered by their current insurance right? Not require extra since they'd be obligated to play those pre-season games anyways.

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09-16-2008, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Turboflex View Post
Wow $800g's to cover Ovechkin for a 2 week tournement thats insane. This has gotta be the end of top pros playing in IIHF tournements.

I wonder, as an alternative could the NHL run a tournment instead during NHL pre-season period? So basically instead of playing 6 pre-season games, invited players would be shifted to tournement games instead. It would be short but doable. This might be covered by their current insurance right? Not require extra since they'd be obligated to play those pre-season games anyways.
A friend brought up the idea the other day along these lines, suggesting maybe that's when a regular World Cup could be held, and hold a Pre-season for non-world cup players at the same time, have maybe 1-2 preseason games, then get the season started.

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09-16-2008, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinalera View Post
A friend brought up the idea the other day along these lines, suggesting maybe that's when a regular World Cup could be held, and hold a Pre-season for non-world cup players at the same time, have maybe 1-2 preseason games, then get the season started.

how would you cover those players contracted to their junior teams whose seasons have already started who are getting permission to attend NHL Camps.

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09-16-2008, 01:09 PM
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I wouldn't mind the NHL leaving the olympics after 2010 (heck, I watch every minute of Olympic coverage that I possibly can, I don't need NHL players to draw me), BUT so long as (as I think the OP mentioned) there is a World Cup every four years or so. In fact, this might be better for the NHL because a World Cup could be scheduled during the offseason of all major hockey leagues.

But I definitely want SOME kind of regularly-held international tournament where the best players in the world play against each other (ala the Canada Cup/World Cup). The World Championships aren't enough for me, since many NHLers are still playing in the playoffs and many who aren't just don't care enough to participate. That's another thing, I don't want this to be like the Davis Cup or Fed Cup in Tennis, where half of the best players don't play. I want this to be something where players feel honored to represent their country and enjoy playing. Of course, many argue that the reason why the Davis/Fed Cups don't have great participation from the pros is because they are held every single year, so I don't think a World Cup of Hockey held every four years will run into that problem.

And as much as I love World Juniors, it doesn't satisfy my desire for international competition of the best players. So I say, if the NHL pulls out of the Olympics, that's perfectly fine so long as there is something that the players care as much about to replace it.

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09-16-2008, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turboflex View Post
Mod Edit: deleted. They're not going to go AWOL on their contracts for a relatively meaningless (compared to stanley cup) 1 week tournement.
Stanley Cup is overrated, you can win one each year.

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