When Las Vegas skates its inaugural season, it may or may not be interrupted for two weeks. We know the 2018 Winter Olympics are scheduled, but we don’t know the NHL’s place in it. If players force their hand, the T-Mobile arena can cover its ice for a few weeks in February. If the league gets its way, players will be waking up at 3 AM just like us to watch amateurs from their countries play.
We’ve all been watching the World Cup of Hockey. Call it success, call it a bust, whatever, we can all agree it’s been some exciting hockey. While most NHL players are back with their teams, Canadian and European stars stayed back for World supremacy. However, the remaining World Cup players aren’t the only ones left back. Tyler Seguin, Aaron Ekblad, Matt Murray, and Marian Gaborik were all significantly injured during the World Cup.
Most players show up to win international tournaments. Aggression and physicality cause unfortunate injuries. If a player gets injured in late September, or even worse, late February, it puts a strain on their NHL club. However, getting injured in the World Cup is clearly the better of the two. The Kings lost Gaborik for eight plus weeks, which puts him back in the lineup by December. Not the worst case. If Gaborik got injured in late February it could be worse for the Kings playoff chase.
The 2018 Winter Games isn’t ideal for Las Vegas or the NHL. As the NHL has stated it’s not good for the league to shut down for two weeks. Plus player insurance policies are very expensive. And I know (Something) Knights fans will go nuts without hockey for two weeks midseason. The Knights could have a few Olympians, which should engage Las Vegas fans more to the 2018 Winter Games. However, local fans will be ticked if their favorite player gets hurt in Korea.
The NHL has publicly said “We don’t make money going to the Olympics. In fact, we kind of disappear for two weeks…” So we know how they feel about sending players. The pros have their own say.
My decision is the same, you don’t know what’s going to happen. But obviously I said I’m going to play. –Alex Ovechkin
It doesn’t sound like he’s willing to listen to the NHL.
Here’s a young player who already carries some NHL respect.
“For me personally, I’ve always dreamt of playing in the Olympics. The World Cup is awesome. It’s similar, but do I hope it takes over? Definitely not. I want the Olympics to be an option for NHL guys –Connor McDavid
McDavid is 19, and might be Team Canada’s Captain someday. You think he’s gonna accept World Cup gold medals over Olympic gold medals?
The NHL and NHLPA have come to agreement on every Winter Games since Nagano in 1998. The juice of the World Cup is boiling for NHL players and they won’t be happy about skipping Pyeongchang.
Will World Cup injuries effect the NHL’s decision? Or will the induction of Las Vegas be another factor for the league? It’s something worth keeping an eye on. And if you don’t have time, Marian Gaborik will. He’s got eight weeks to kill.