March 7, 2014
By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
Add hockey commentator Don Cherry to the list of people who think NHL players shouldn’t participate in the Olympics. The outspoken Cherry said owners would be “nuts” to send players to South Korea in 2018. Aside from the traditional Olympics rigors, Cherry pointed out that the league isn’t trying to grow its presence in Asia, so there’s less of an incentive for NHL players to make such a far and time consuming trip.
While Cherry’s opinion will have no impact on the ultimate decision, NHL owners have long loathed sending players to the Olympics. The multi-week break kills momentum mid-season, and top players are at risk of injury. A perfect example is New York Islanders star John Tavares, who’s out for the season after suffering a knee injury last month in Sochi. Complicating the issue is the fact that Olympics participation isn’t something that’s been collectively bargained for. The players and the league could be in for a very public fight in the next four years before Pyeongchang.