Monday, 7 August 2017

What Part Didn't You Understand?

Today, it seems there was some serious backlash over the NHL announcing that all contracted players, including those on two-way deals in the minor leagues, will not be eligible to play in the Olympics. Apparently, this was some unknown news to many outlets as the reporting on this seemed to be aghast at this news. This confuses me because the NHL made it fairly clear a few weeks ago that any player under contract with the NHL would not be going to the Olympics. Did I miss a memo somewhere?

"A decision has been made that all players under NHL contract will be subject to similar treatment," Daly said in today's press conference.

The clarification, it seems, is that players in North America will not be granted leave for the Olympics if they are under contract to an NHL team. Those players in Europe who are under contract with an NHL team will not be subject to these NHL restrictions mostly because those players cannot be recalled at a moment's notice, so that would be why they can go. This also opens up the option for junior-aged players and players in the NCAA if the CHL and the NCAA decide that players from those respective leagues can go.

While this probably won't hurt Canada all that much, it does throw a major monkey wrench into the plans of Hockey USA. Players such as last season's leading scorer Kenny Agostino, defenceman T.J. Brennan, and goaltender Troy Grosenick are now ineligible to play in Pyeongchang where all three probably would have played large roles with Team USA. Instead, Hockey USA will have to dig a little deeper to fill out its twenty-five man roster.

Again, while I get how this weakens the American team's roster, I fail to see how this is news. The NHL was fairly clear in its initial statements of how no NHL players would go to the Olympics. There was some uncertainty over minor-league players, but it seemed pretty clear to me that players who could be recalled probably shouldn't go either. Logically, there could be a few of those players who make NHL rosters out of training camp as well. In summary, why would the NHL allow any player who is under contract at any level go if he could be recalled at any moment's notice?

I have no clue how people missed these details originally. We spoke about how players on two-way deals wouldn't be going on The Hockey Show last week. No one called in to tell us how wrong we were or how we should wait for the NHL to rule on minor-league players. I thought it was fairly clear that if a player signed a deal of any kind with an NHL team that he would be ineligible.

Well, the NHL cleared that up quickly - if you can't be recalled, you can go.

Would the Jets be cool if Jack Roslovic went to South Korea for a couple of weeks if Bryan Little got hurt while he was gone? I'm not saying that Roslovic would be the first player recalled, but the Jets may need a scoring centerman, and Roslovic fits that bill. Outside of Roslovic, do they recall Chase De Leo and hope for the best? I can't see the Jets doing anything like this when they could have had Roslovic. This is why the players signed to NHL deals aren't going.

If you want better players at the Olympics, blame your local NHL team's owner. The owners are the ones driving the bus on the "no Olympics" push this season, so take aim at them. Don't blame Gary Bettman or Bill Daly or the players for giving us a Super Spengler Cup this year. Just cheer on the players who pull on your country's sweater and enjoy the ride they take you on in South Korea.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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