Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Morning Line

On Tuesday, NHL commission Gary Bettmann, players association chief Don Fehr and Rene Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, will meet with the media in Sochi. What they’ll say is unknown, but the league’s braintrust — Bettman and his No. 2, Bill Daly — have been saying that Sochi will be the last go-round for the NHL and there won’t be any NHL players in Pyeongchang in 2018. Their desire is to relaunch the World Cup, but they’re dreaming in technicolor if they believe that tournament would generate the kind of passion and following the Olympics inspire.

In the space of about five minutes, for example, American T.J. Oshie became a worldwide phenomenon when he scored four goals in six shootout attempts in the Americans’ 3-2 win over Russia on Saturday. Just under a  million tweets were sent out about Toshie in the 4-1/2 hours following the game. U.S. president Barack Obama tweeted about the St. Louis Blues forward. So did movie stars and NFL and Major League Baseball players.

Do you think that would happen at a World Cup? Let’s ask a tougher question. Do you think Vladimir Putin owns a box set of Fawlty Towers?

-Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province.  More from Willes at Canada.com looking at the injury factor of players.

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

Avatar

It be be a serious mistake to not allow players to play in the Olympics.

Posted by Robert on 02/17/14 at 11:20 AM ET

Primis's avatar

It be be a serious mistake to not allow players to play in the Olympics.

Posted by Robert on 02/17/14 at 10:20 AM ET

This time around is actually the perfect example of why they SHOULDN’T play.  Injured players not playing in NHL games, but trying to find a way to play for country in the Olympics, with national federations pressuring players to play while their NHL clubs are pressuring them NOT to.

Russia happens to be a hockey country, South Korea is not.  And from what I saw in future sites beyond that, they’re unlikely to be in another hockey-friendly country again for a while.

NHL teams are fed up with the politics of it and honestly, as a fan I am too.  I’m fed up with the fact the guys running my favorite NHL team have to be distracted by national team duty, and I’m aggravated that one of my team’s best players is now hurt and probably not ready to play when NHL play resumes.

If a few of the Russians or whoever want to bolt for the KHL so they can play in the next Olympics, let them.  The league can live without them.


I would welcome the return of a World Cup.  It happens during the offseason essentially and does not interrupt the entire NHL schedule, and the times for games would be TV-friendly for us North Americans.

Posted by Primis on 02/17/14 at 11:37 AM ET

Avatar

The world cup does not have the same international merit that the Olympics do, you know, the Olympics that have pitted the best athletes against each other since ancient Greece 2000+ years ago? There is an inherent pride for playing for your country in the Olympics that any kind of world cup simply does not provide. This is in large part due to tradition. Politics play a huge role, and I agree it would be nice to see greater cooperation between the NHL and the IIHF. However by not allowing NHL stars to participate in the Olympics and instead insisting they play in an inferior competition with more “TV-Friendly” times is ignoring the fact that the Olympic games are a WORLDWIDE competition.

Sure, getting up at 7:30 AM to watch hockey games live is a bit of a hassle, but there is a worldwide market out there for these games. Providing the best possible athletes to represent one’s country is crucial. In other Olympic events you don’t see amateurs out there representing their country, no, every country puts their absolute best competitors on their rosters. Whether it be skiing, figure skating or snowboarding. When it comes down to it, the Olympics are about winning. Regardless of unfortunate injuries that could happen to anyone.

Sure. It’s super unfortunate that Z is hurt and his season could very much be in jeopardy, but his back issues have been recurring and I doubt his getting hurt was a surprise to anyone here. Datsyuk could get hurt too. Sure, we would be up in arms about that, but by that same token injuries could happen to anyone. Crosby could go down with another concussion, St. Louis could break his leg just like Stamkos, Chara might take a spill and separate a shoulder. Losing any of those players would prove damaging to their respective teams, but those are risks that hockey players take when they step on the ice. It is unfortunate, but it is no secret that injuries happen and therefore I find it to be a poor argument to disallow players to compete for their countries because there is risk of injury. There’s a risk of injury every time any single person gets out of bed in the morning, there’s a risk of injury every time any single person stay in bed in the morning. So what.

You say if a few of the Russian players bolt, I’d argue that in spite of restricting player’s rights it would affect players from Sweden, Finland, Slovakia, and any other “hockey country” from making the jump over the North America to play. The Olympics only happen once every four years, it’s exclusive, and features events outside of just hockey. A two week gap in the middle of the NHL season would not look or feel as bad if horrible mismanagement hadn’t derailed last season, and that is why re-inventing the world cup is a step backwards for hockey on a worldwide scale.

I’d like to tackle that TV-Friendly comment one last time by saying it is an incredibly close-minded view. Us North Americans are not the only people in the world; in the 2010 Olympics how do you think fans of Sweden, Russia, Finland, Switzerland, Latvia, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic felt? The games surely weren’t being aired at a super-convenient time for any of those countries. North American individualistic ideology is not the lens to look through when viewing a global competition.

Posted by Robert on 02/17/14 at 01:48 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I’d like to tackle that TV-Friendly comment one last time by saying it is an incredibly close-minded view. Us North Americans are not the only people in the world; in the 2010 Olympics how do you think fans of Sweden, Russia, Finland, Switzerland, Latvia, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic felt? The games surely weren’t being aired at a super-convenient time for any of those countries. North American individualistic ideology is not the lens to look through when viewing a global competition.

Posted by Robert on 02/17/14 at 12:48 PM ET

It’s not closed-minded at all.

I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable that players under contract to North American teams in the by-far-the-best league in the world (based in North America) should try to have games in North America where there’s more/better facilities, larger arenas/crowds, and more money.

Go ahead and take the US and Canadian TV markets out of the equation for Olympic hockey viewing and let me know how total Olympic hockey viewership looks.

And again, as a plus they can have the tourney in the offseason where you’re only competing against regular season baseball basically.  Instead right now you’re competing against NBA basketball, NCAA basketball, NFL Draft lead-up, etc…  I don’t think a summer hockey tourney is a bad idea.

Unless they’re willing to move the Winter Olympics to the summer, I as a fan really have no interest in continuing to interrupt the NHL season and have guys get injured for the playoff push stretch just so they can go.

Posted by Primis on 02/17/14 at 04:33 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I should also add:  for a World Cup there’s no reason you can’t have European teams play some games in Europe still… local time, local crowds for them.  IIRC that’s what they did for the last World Cups they did.

Instead for Olympics, you have to send everyone to some backwater like Sochi, Russia that none of you ever heard of before they were awarded the Games.  Or South Korea next time (hockey hotbed!).  That’s the problem with the Olympics…. not every host is Vancouver, Salt Lake, or Lillehammer.

Posted by Primis on 02/17/14 at 04:39 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

There are two problems for the NHL: shutting down the league for two weeks in the middle of the season and player injuries. Simple solution. Move the hockey tournament to the Summer Olympics and insurance takes care of the other issue. Not that the IOC would ever do it.

The time change EST to Korean time is 14 hours and 17 hours to the west coast. I think that throws another monkey wrench into the mix. One of the big criticisms of the tournament at the Nagano games (other than the US destroying their rooms) was the awful hours the games were played for North Americans trying to watch live.

Salt Lake and Vancouver were huge hits for the NHL because the games were broadcast at times people could watch.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 02/17/14 at 05:01 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

image

image

image