2018 Olympic Preview: Hockey Without Stars

nhlhockeyIn every Olympic Games, there are certain events that tend to be the events that everyone wants to watch.

These are the premier events of the Olympics and every two years they take full focus when they are on.

In the Winter Olympics, that event has always been the Olympic hockey tournament which has become one of the great accomplishments in hockey.

A gold medal in the Olympics is such a rare thing to get especially when it comes to those athletes that spend their careers as professionals.

Unlike amateur athletes whose careers are meant to attend the Olympics professionals spend their time trying to get to the professional leagues and earn a living playing their spot.

This leaves them with few opportunities to get to the Olympics and when they get that chance they have to beat out the best in the world to get there.

When there is no shortage of talent to chose from only the best players in the world during that time can make the games.

In hockey, putting that gold medal among their trophies is one of the biggest accomplishments for every player.

It is one-third of the Triple Gold Club that holds only 27 players who have won the World Championships, a Stanley Cup and Olympic gold.

The club is about to get a lot tougher to be a part of though as the Pyeongchang Olympics will be the first Olympic tournament without professional players since 1994.

After the 1994 Game the NHL, IOC and IIHF agreed to allow NHL players into the Olympics for the first time.

That is when things took a massive step up in competition as the Olympic tournament truly became a best on best tournament.

The best players in the world were attending the Olympics and competing to truly be the best team in the world.

There was no doubt about that accomplishment as the team that could win the Olympic tournament was surely the best team with the best players in the world.

Now the tournament takes a new turn though as the deal that was upheld since the 1998 Olympics is no longer in place.

The NHL, IOC and IIHF could not come up with an agreement to keep the NHL players in the Olympics.

So there will be no NHL players in the Olympics this year leaving out the best players in the world sticking with their NHL teams and missing the tournament.

For some, that means that the quality of the tournament will not be the same and that the hockey is going to suffer.

The reality is that if the ban from the NHL only applied to one team or a couple of teams it would be bad for the tournament.

This ban applies to every player in the NHL meaning that the best players in the world for every single team won’t be available to play for their respective teams.

It is sure to hit some teams harder for some teams as teams like Canada and the USA are made up entirely of NHL talent.

Other teams will see their few great players be missed instead going to their own domestic leagues for talent.wolympic-sidebarolympics-sidebar

That is where the debate really rages on as there are some that would believe that the big teams are suffering more while others think the smaller teams suffer more.

The smaller teams are losing those one or two great players that could make all of the difference in this tournament.

The bigger teams are losing full rosters of great players but these teams will full NHL rosters are rarely teams that are hurting for talent.

They could easily make rosters of great players without using any NHL talent but the NHL talent is the best of the best.

A team like Canada has players all over the world playing at high levels but given the choice, they go with the best players in the world who are in the NHL.

This year they enter the Olympics with a number of very good players on their team including a number of former NHL players.

Although these might not be the first choice they are still good and a number of the top teams will see the same situation.

The smaller teams have much the same roster that they were always going to have minus a few big difference makers.

There is no doubt that this move away from the NHL stars will change this tournament as the difference between the teams won’t be as big.

Although those big teams still have a lot of talent the fact is everyone in this tournament is likely playing in the same leagues.

They are all closer in talent level now than they have been in decades and that could only mean good things.

Heading into the tournament the team of Olympic Athletes from Russia could be favourites with KHL players including some that played in the NHL and were among the best in the NHL before retiring.

Canada and USA remain, strong candidates, while Sweden and Finland could also for some big things.

It will be a little more up in the air this time around though as the talent level is different and as a result, this could be one of the most entertaining tournaments in recent memory.

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