Should the League Allow NHL Players To Go To Sochi?ShareThis
I’m blinded by emotion when I try to discuss NHL players going (or not going) to the Olympics, so I’m not even gonna try to pretend that my “they should go” mentality is all that well-founded in logic.
But still, I’d like to understand the issues that are creating the league’s hesitancy (Bettman says their research shows support for players going is a “mixed bag”. I presume the “mix” is a whole bunch of “well yeah, of course” and a dash of Bettman lies).
Since I’m not really up on all the ins-and-outs of the decision, I’m going to ask three questions, and maybe some readers can help me out:
1) Business is supply and demand. The demand (from everyone who isn’t the league) for NHL players to be in Sochi in 2014 is insane. Thus, there’s lots of money to be made there. As of today, a major problem is that while some people are making money, the NHL does nothing but lose it. And, of course, they’re the people taking the biggest risks.
If the IIHF and everybody else badly wants the best players in the world there, and that costs NHL owners money, is there not some sort of compensation that can be given from party A to party B so everybody can make some money, instead of just having party A make a ton of money?
2) I batted this about on Twitter with Bruce Arthur yesterday:
One of the reasons the owners give for how it costs them money is the “loss of momentum”. As in, the 17 day lull in the schedule means some fans don’t know their team is back playing again, and thus, they miss out on ticket sales.
Obviously, this isn’t a problem in cities like Toronto, St. Paul, or Vancouver, but might be in cities like Raleigh-Durham, Atlanta or Nashville.
My question then is…. how much is that supposed lull really costing them? Is “loss of momentum” a proven thing that they’ve established a value for? The break is like, 17 days – just for the sake of pointing it out, most teams take a couple two-week road trips over the course of every season. This is really that much different? It’s certainly a lot more meaningful.
And by the same logic, wouldn’t the lull end up bunching other games together, providing a “gain of momentum?”
Basically, I’m skeptical that this is an important reason.
C) Isn’t this “should we let the players go?” talk from Bettman strictly to create a bargaining chip in the next CBA? (Here are the thoughts of Jeff Marek from CBC, whom I’m in the process of agreeing with). We all agree that Bettman’s “hesitance” is just to create an ”okay, you can go to the party, but only if you clean your room first” situation, when the parent was going to let the kid go all along I would think, no?
Shouldn’t the players be countering (as much as I hate these games) with a ”meh, whatever” response to that?
The whole thing is just like how I let Bri watch “Cake Boss” or “Ace of Cakes” in exchange for an episode of Sportscenter. I freakin’ love Cake Boss. Shhh.
As for the other reasons….
Risk of injury, star player fatigue, that sort of thing: I totally, totally get it. I know it’s not all roses, this whole degrading the NHL schedule for something “bigger” thing. But to me, and I said this on Twitter yesterday, there’s just zero/none/nil/no way you could convince me it’s not worth it, or that it won’t happen.
Hockey fans are just too in love with that tournament, and I honestly believe the NHL loves it too. If the players don’t go (hint: they will), it’ll be pitchforks and torches for months.
Good news! It’s a double post day. Well, only because this one went well into four-digit words so I split it up, but whatever. It looks like two posts. Go read the other one!