October 5, 2017

The NHL’s Olympic hypocrisy and 2017-18 season preview

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

It’s kind of funny, but the biggest story of the NHL season will likely be something that the league isn’t involved with at all: The Olympics.

With the league deciding not to send its players to South Korea for the Winter Games in February, it is missing out on a major opportunity. Gary Bettman and Co. seem to be talking out of both sides of their mouth when they say they want to expand the sport’s popularity into the lucrative Asian market, but then turn around and tell the NHLPA that the players won’t be participating.

How are you supposed to grow a game when the players representing a sport aren’t good enough to make it in the world’s biggest league?

The hypocrisy of it all is astounding. And to turn it into a negotiating ploy for the new CBA is a dirty move as well. Players shouldn’t be sacrificing their rights to negotiate for a chance to play in the Olympics.

Of course, with the 2022 Games in China, we’ll see what the league says in a few years. But, in case Bettman didn’t look at a map before making his decision, PyeongChang and Beijing are less of a distance then Toronto and Winnipeg.

And the league just went out of its way to play two exhibition games in China – which weren’t particularly well-receiving. Perhaps exposing them to the world’s best instead of the Vancouver Canucks’ scrubs would be a good idea.

While I still think that it’s pretty dumb that league would stop for two weeks while the top 3% of the league’s players left, mid-season, it’s the fact that the league doesn’t see this Games as a powerful marketing tool in South Korea is even stupider.

As for some predictions of what’s on tap, here are some off-the-cuff guesses that nobody should take seriously – expect for the Stanley Cup.


Atlantic playoff teams: Tampa Bay, Montreal, Toronto

Metropolitan playoff teams: Pittsburgh, Washington, Columbus

East wild cards: Ottawa, Carolina

Central playoff teams: Dallas, Minnesota, Chicago,

Pacific playoff teams: Edmonton, Anaheim, Calgary

West wild cards: Nashville, St. Louis

Eastern Conference final: Toronto over Columbus

Western Conference final: Dallas over Edmonton

Stanley Cup final: Toronto over Dallas in seven

First overall pick: Vancouver Canucks

Calder Trophy: Nico Hischier, NJ

Norris Trophy: Erik Karlsson, OTT

Rocket Richard Trophy: Patrik Laine, WIN

Art Ross Trophy: Connor McDavid, EDM

Hart Trophy: Connor McDavid, EDM

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