Detroit Red Wings: Pros and Cons of No Olympic Hockey for NHL

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 22: Jakub Voracek
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 22: Jakub Voracek /
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The 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea will not feature National Hockey players after it was decided by commissioner Gary Bettman in April.

Although it won’t affect the Detroit Red Wings as much as it would have in previous seasons, the decision not to allow NHL players to participate in the Games still affects some of the players on the roster.

Here are some of the pros and cons for the players and the game as a whole.

Cons

Larkin Missed Opportunity 

Dylan Larkin would have likely been a realistic selection for the United States team at the Games. The 20-year-old forward played in this year’s IIHF World Championships in Germany and France and had an impressive performance.

This would have been a big moment in Larkin’s career, if he was indeed selected, he would be joining a team made up of a talented group of young players that would likely include Auston Matthews, Johnny Gaudreau, and Jack Eichel.

Not only would this be an exciting team to watch but it would also give Larkin a huge opportunity to further develop in his career. Let’s hope the Michigan native can represent the Stars and Stripes at the Olympic Games at some point during his career.

Growing the Game 

Despite the best players in the world being absent from the competition, this might turn out to be a good thing for the game of hockey overall. Smaller countries now have the opportunity to be more competitive against countries such as Russia, Canada, and the U.S.

The drive will certainly be there for players in other leagues across the world to make their national teams. Perhaps there will be a Cinderella story at the Games and this might be the last chance for some of the countries to earn a medal, which of course depends on whether or not the NHL decides to let its players participate in the 2022 Games.

Cons

Will it Still be Competitive? 

As mentioned before, the best players in the world will be absent. However, countries like Canada and Russia still have a massive pool of players to choose from. The Kontinental Hockey League in Russia will be sending its players to the Games and that is a highly competitive league.

Sweden and other countries also have plenty of players to choose from that don’t play in the NHL. There’s a chance this decision doesn’t really change the outcome of whether or not countries like Canada, Russia, or Sweden win the gold medal.

The Olympic Spirit 

The best athletes in the world, at their respective sports, usually participate in the Games. This isn’t a secret to anyone and it doesn’t look very good for the NHL to not send its players because of this.

Without NHL players at the games, it will be interesting to see how many fans will habitually watch hockey in the Games. Remember, the NHL will continue its season during the Olympics in February.

If I were to take a guess I would say this will hurt viewership in the U.S. and Canada but not by that much.

Additionally, it won’t feel the same watching without the best players in the world on the ice. Players look forward to representing their countries, most of the time, which makes this year’s Games a little more disappointing.

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These are just some of the pros and cons in this debate. Let’s hope we see the NHL back at the Olympics in the future.