Lv 6
Erica asked in SportsHockey · 1 decade ago

In all honesty, do you think NHL players really won't play in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia?

Just wow.

- Okay, what's the real reason behind this... is it because of the strain between the NHL and the Russian Hockey Federation?

- Or is it really because of the strain it would be on the players, schedule, and fans?

- What would the Olympics be without some of the players in the NHL?

- How do those players feel about possibly not playing for their country's national team in something as celebrated and honorable as the Olympics??

- Have I exceeded my question limit in one question?

(My apologies for that!)

I can't imagine Ovechkin or Malkin not playing for their country, especially not while it hosts the Olympics. They're players that are very important to the national team.


BOB LOBLAW- Ahhh, I didn't see someone asked about this already. My bad. (Well, let's be honest... I didn't really look. I was going to rant a bit anyway. Haha.)

LITY - I agree about North American players, but players like Henrik Lundqvist, a Swede, come to mind... Playing and winning gold for Sweden was a big deal for him. That Swedish team was stacked though, and he got to play with players like Peter Forsberg, Daniel Alfredsson, Henrik Zetterberg... I can see how it probably wouldn't be as much of a thing for North American players, especially Canadians!

But no, I don't see how it would be a strain for the fans in any way... But uh, thanks for including us I guess, Bettman. Lol.

Update 2:

LITY - Basically... I wish Bettman explained things like you do, not in a way that makes me ask if there's more to it. Or random things, like "strain" for the fans... Whether or not pros or amateurs play in the Olympics, like you said, ice hockey is a marquis event---I'm still going to watch it!

Update 3:

daven71 - I can't imagine a more ridiculous hypothetical situation than Evgeni Malkin sneaking back INTO Russia to play hockey. Haha, that would take the cake.

Update 4:

LITY - I respect the Olympics, and understand that the competition is better honored by having the world's greatest amateurs compete. I know some of you feel that way---however, I don't think the NHL reflects that stance AT ALL by allowing its players to play in the Olympics anyway so long as they are hosted in North America. Why not disallow it completely then?

There's no tournament where NHL players can play for their country and compete with the best of the best every country has to offer. I wouldn't count the World Championships because, as you know, some of the best of the best are playing in the NHL playoffs. If they had a World Cup of Hockey tournament every 4 years or something, I don't think this dicussion would even take place. That would be ideal.

...Like I said, it'd be ridiculous if Malkin snuck back INTO Russia to play hockey. Although he could have a future as an international spy or something, I suppose. LOL.

18 Answers

  • Favorite Answer

    1. During the negotiations of the current CBA, neither side wanted to commit to the Olympics without having some concessions. While the current CBA has commitments to the 2006 and 2010 winter games, it also contains a provision that if for any reason the 2010 games are moved outside of North America, the players and the owners will not participate.

    2. How are fans strained? I can see the players being strained because it causes a condensation in the NHL schedule after a condensed high energy Olympic scheduke.

    3. The same thing they were prior to 1998, a collection of the best professional hockey players not in the NHL and the gold medal hockey game will still be one of the three marquis events along with the Men's Downhill, and the Women's singles figure skating.

    4. Many North Americans and Swedes feel that they could easily do without them.

    5. Not at all!

    Joe B

    The only amateur hockey players at the 1980 Olympics were the Americans and Canadians. All the European teams were made up of professional players that had never played in the NHL, some making more money than the average NHLer at the time.


    At that time (1980), only the NHL was considered a 'truly' professional league. The Germans had players on their team like Erich Kuhnhackl who turned down million dollar offers from Montreal and the Rangers because he was making more in Germany. Several of the Swedes and Finns had been drafted.

    Just prior to the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo, the IOC was forced to act on this and 'to quote George Gross of the Toronto Sun' in one fell swoop all professional hockey leagues in the world, save for the NHL, were amateur for the purposes of the Olympics. This meant that the recently arrested Viacheslav Bykov of Russia who could play (as part of his court hearing, he said he was a professional hockey player) and that Hannu Kampurri could tend goal for Finland, despite playing in the WHA in 1978-79. The ruling also allowed Mario Gosselin to suit up for Canada because despite signing an NHL contract with Quebec, he had never played an NHL game. Don Dietrich and Tom McMurchy unfortunately, were removed from the team because they had played a handful of games.

    Between 1984 and 1988, the IIHF forced the IOC to take a long look at it's hipocracy and in 1988, any player wa spermitted to play in the Olympics, and in an effort to sell tickets, the Calgary Flames lent the Canadian Olympic team Jim Peplinski for the tournament. In 1992, several teams had players who had played at least one game in the NHL, and by 1998......the top 7 teams in the tournament consisted largely of NHL players.

    Erica.............I think the argument about certain players wanting to play for their country is a lot thinner than it was. Both Alfredsson and Sundin have publicly stated that if they had to choose between a Gold Medal and a Stanley Cup, they want the cup. Malkin's choice to bolt a Russian contract for the NHL is proof of what the Stanley Cup has come to mean. North Americans have grown up for years believing that the Stanley Cup was the Holy Grail, and Ray Bourque's decision not to play in the 1996 World Cup and Patrick Roy's decision to skip the 2002 Olympics only strengthen that belief. I believe that Malkin's decision, and comments made by Alfredsson, Sundin and some Finn named Selanne are showing that to be true across the pond as well.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I think the NHL should take a cue from FIFA and focus on the World Cup as their showcase tournament. The Olympics could be the showcase for the best players not in the NHL. Now that the iron curtain has fallen, that would be an even playing field precisely because guys like Ovechkin are in the NHL. The players themselves are more likely to be up for international hockey in September than in February.

    Otherwise, it's very confusing as to which is the premiere international tournament, and not fair to the fans of the clubs that lend players to the Olympic tournament. With the way things are going for the Caps, Ovechikin will likely to be able to represent his country in Halifax and Quebec city this spring.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I really hope the US and Russia can clear this mess up. Apparently; Malkin's agent had to parachute into Finland for a secret meeting prior to him signing a deal at 3 a.m. while hiding out in a warehouse. It's just ridiculous; what age are we living in?

    Malkin said he was fearful of what was going to happen to his family; which means he knows that there are people being threatened, at the least, in Russia to stay home.

    The impact that these olympic games will have on Russia and their fans is more than enough of a reason to get this thing going. I feel as though Malkin and the boys will go back and play; and probably win the gold.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Your first point is pretty valid. Extremely valid. I also think it's a waste of the league's time and the sport would be better served by amateurs being the only participants. The Russians can't cheat any more so all things would be equal again. There are other times a pro can respresent their country. I think letting pros into the Olympics was the IOCs biggest mistake. It's diverted from the original intent of the games.

    I think the pros take away that one opportunity for guys who may never play pro but are good players to live the dream.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I really don't think that the lack of a deal with Russia has alot to do with it.

    The strain on the players players plays a big part. Especially when olympics are in places like Asia. Owners have alot invested in these players.

    I am fine with it- Olympics should be amateur, not pro.

    I think the players are mixed. North American players are probably a little less disappointed in that the Stanley Cup is what they grow up with as their main goal. Let's face it, many (most) of these guys care about money too, they do not get paid in the Olympics and risk injury.


    Source(s):;_ylt=ArpHZ... EDIT-288- So you believe that Ray Jones Jr. or ANtonio Tarver etc. should be allowed to fight in the Olympics as well? To me, it takes away from the whole purpose. I suppose though, there was a Cuban heavyweight a few years back (the name alludes me right now) that fought in the Olympics like 3 times because being in Cuba he did not have the opportunity to be a pro. Felix Savon-just came to me. I just think it takes away from the Olympics which IMO is "amateur sport". Once you turn professional in your field, you lose amateur status. Just my opinion.
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I think it's still too early to tell. I mean, that's seven years away, tons can happen then. There could be a new CBA, new commissioner (I hope so), new standards, new world, new world war, the end of the did it get to dark stuff like this again?

    Anyways, right now, they're saying no, but I hope they do. Some argue that the Olympics should be for amateur athletes, but I think that the Olympics should be for the best a country has to offer. Call it national pride.

    Bob, if that's the best a country has to offer, sure, go for it. There're pro tennis players in the Olympics, after all.

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  • Maria
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Yes. If they don't, the NHLPA will have a sh!tstorm and make Bettman and every other NHL official's life miserable The NHL wants the players in the Olympics, they just also want leverage over the NHLPA in negotiations. It makes an ugly mess, so let's just hope everything ends up in the fans' best interests

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  • 1 decade ago

    NHL does not want to go but I think it'll happen as Russia is flush with $ and the Russian players want to. Watch a lot of them drift back to the Russian league between 2010 and 2014 if this dispute is not settled.

    NHL should stop looking at its meaningless regular season and look at the big picture--the Olympics is HUGE exposure and just in Oly years whack games off the schedule and compensate owners out of $ made in the Olys through TV marketing, etc.

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  • N/A
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    I'd be so pissed if the NHL won't let the players play in MY home country!! >:O How rude! Play them in Nagano, in Salt Lake City, in Turin, but not in Sochi!?!?! How very nice of you NHL. I actually have a very realistic chance of being in Sochi in 2014, and if I can't see the best athletes from each hockey country compete against each other, I'm gonna be hella pissed off. I totally and completely disagree with all the people saying that the Olympics should be for amateurs, see my mini-rant here:;_ylt=AvB_L...

    The Olympics are for the best athletes in the world to showcase their talent!!! Man, I'm real steamed on this one, I might actually BE THERE. That's like my only chance in my life to see the Olympics, and it would be without NHL players!?!?!? Noooooo!!!

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  • 1 decade ago

    The Olympics is about playing the best, and the NHL has no right to deny other countries their best players. If this is passed I'll be SHOCKED. Bettman said "it's a strain on the players" let them make that decision if they don't want to play they don't have to, so it's really none of his business.

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