3 Things We Can Learn From The Olympics - 1. NHL Hockey

3 Things We Can Learn From The Olympics - 1. NHL Hockey

05 Mar 2018Adrian J»
 

One week ago, the Olympic Games finished for another four years with USA taking Gold, Canada the Silver and Finland the Bronze in the Women's competition. In the men's tournament it was OA Russia who took Gold, the Silver went to Germany and Canada the Bronze. In this first article we look at the impact of the NHL's decision not to allow it's players to participate in the Games.

 
 
 
 

One week ago, the Olympic Games finished for another four years with USA taking Gold, Canada the Silver and Finland the Bronze in the Women's competition. In the men's tournament it was OA Russia who took Gold, the Silver went to Germany and Canada the Bronze. There was all the drama and the unexpected mixed in with the predicated and anticipated that makes the magic potion that is the Olympics Games.

As the players return to end of the season with their clubs with new experiences under their belts, we can take a minute to pause and reflect on what we learnt from this Winter Games.

In this first article we look at the impact of the NHL's decision not to allow it's players to participate in the Games.

Do we need the NHL at the Olympics?

It is a shame that the world's top league would not release the best players to play on sports' biggest stage. But the tournament was still very good without the NHL, and possibly better, with more teams having more chances to win rather than the same nations steamrollering others to the medal places.

NHL experience is not the same as success

The tournament also shows us that NHL experience is not necessarily an indication of Gold medal quality. Take for example, Kirill Kaprizov, who scored the Gold medal winning goal in Overtime. The 20-year-old was drafted by Minnesota Wild in 2015 and finished second in the Total Points competition at the Olympics but has never played in the NHL. Or if we take just NHL matches played, the order for the top eight at Pyeongchang should have been first Canada, USA, OA Russia then Sweden, Germany, Czech Republic, Finland and Slovakia. But there is more to winning tournaments than putting a load of players with a lot of experience in North America on the Korean ice and expecting a medal to pop out at the other end after two weeks. The USA where perhaps the biggest losers on this occasion but both Sweden and then Canada were flattened by the German rampage. They never let their opponents get too far ahead and in each of the three knockout games served up a double-punch by scoring two goals in less than three minutes sending their rivals reeling. They then finished off the team with desperate defending until the siren went. But in the Gold medal match it was not enough and the final standings were OA Russia, Germany, Canada, Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland, USA, Norway in the top eight positions.

The Olympic factor

Despite the NHL ruling it is noteworthy that some players, such as Canada's captain Chris Kelly and assistant captain René Bourque, took matters into their own hands so they could be part of the Games. Kelly signed for the AHL affiliate of the Ottawa Senators whilst Bourque moved to Sweden to ensure selection. For those that want to be part of the Olympic spectacle there is always a way. Kelly and Bourque will look back at his hockey career and his shiny Bronze medal and surely reflect that is was worth it.

So, if the NHL tries to flex its muscles again and say that their players cannot come, I say - let the Olympic party continue without them!


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