Hey, at least there’s some talk about the NHL participating in the 2018 (and really, 2022) Olympics, even if it’s seemingly preliminary.
League deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun that the NHL, NHLPA and IIHF met “very quietly” a couple weeks ago to dip their toes in the early issues.
With the World Cup of Hockey looming, it’s fair to wonder what might happen with the 2018 games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
As LeBrun explains, the 2018 and 2022 Olympics essentially go hand-in-hand, as the league must mull the logistical challenges vs. the potentially lucrative possibility of increasing the sport’s prominence in Asia.
The prevailing theme is “preliminary,” but LeBrun’s report is still worth a read, especially if you’re a big fan of international hockey.
That was the message from Hockey Canada on Monday as they announced Steve Yzerman would once again lead Canada at the Winter Olympics. Yzerman was tabbed to reprise his GM role for the 2014 Sochi Games after leading Team Canada to a gold medal at the 2010 games in Vancouver.
“The opportunity to work with Hockey Canada again is something I’m really excited about,” Yzerman said. “I really, really enjoyed the experience in the past, and really look forward to the next few years. And hopefully all goes well and the National Hockey League players will be participating in Sochi as well.”
Joining Yzerman in managerial roles are his same assistants from 2010 — St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong, Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland and Edmonton Oilers president Kevin Lowe.
Yzerman was a borderline Demigod following the gold medal win in Vancouver, but it will be interesting to see how he performs in a follow-up role. Wayne Gretzky, also familiar with being a Canadian icon, returned to GM the national team after winning gold at the 2002 Salt Lake games…only to fall flat in 2006 (Canada finished third in its group, then lost to Russia in the quarterfinals.)
The difficulty of following-up a gold medal performance is something Yzerman alluded to.
“While winning in Vancouver was something unique and extraordinary, I am as excited about taking on another great challenge,” he said. “I look forward to working with Doug, Ken, Kevin, Peter and Dave and the Hockey Canada staff to put a plan in place to bring Canada success internationally.”
Just over 24 hours after playing in an incredibly emotional and physically-draining gold medal game, Paul Stastny and Brian Rafalski will make the trip to Denver to meet with their respective teams for tomorrow’s game between Detroit and Colorado. It’s a tough turnaround for the American teammates, who battled together the past two weeks and came within an overtime goal of winning the ultimate Olympic prize.
You have to wonder what it’s like to play as teammates, representing your country one day and then the next you’re staring down each other in a matchup of two teams battling for position in the standings. Did Rafalski ever pull Stastny aside in practice in hopes of getting a quick tip on the best way to beat Craig Anderson? Did they share a knowing look as they both departed the United States’ locker room after the loss? There’s a good chance they’re sharing a plane tonight.