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Jul 31, 2012; London, United Kingdom; Sochi organizing committee president Dmitry Chernyshenko (left) poses with the mascot at a press conference for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games at the Sochi Park Press Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Will NHL Players Play in Sochi? The Lockout Gives Us Our Answer.

The biggest argument against NHL players in the Olympics has always been that the owners don’t want their players injured in non-NHL play.  This same group seems to be ok with their NHL “assets” going overseas during this lockout.  The New York Rangers are banking on Rick Nash being one of their premier marketing properties over the next 6 seasons with a cap hit of $7.8M.  I’d bet that when he sustained an injury in a Swiss League game the Rangers organization held its collective breath waiting news.  Now, it ended up only being a shoulder bruise and he only missed a few games, but still.

Domenic Hasek famously was injured during the Olympics, prompting many pundits to belive the NHL players wouldn’t be allowed to play in the 2010 games.  But there they were, in Vancouver, providing us with some of the most exciting hockey I’d seen in years.  If a marquee NHL player like Hasek can get injured in the same tournament that NHL owners are fearing injury and the players STILL play in the next iteration of that tournament, it’s a safe bet that players will still be allowed to go overseas to engage in international play.

The fact that our NHL players are now playing overseas only furthers this point.  If injury wore the main concern, wouldn’t the owners frantically be trying to get a deal done before the lockout and conceding to all player demands to prevent the overseas play?  Just some food for thought.  Even Ovechkin, who once said he’d quit the NHL if they wouldn’t let him play, has to see this lockout as a Sochi-positive.


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Tags: Alex Ovechkin Rick Nash

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