A couple weeks after the Olympic craziness has ended, the NHL is back into full throttle. Coming into the home stretch of the season, the games are becoming more and more important for playoff hungry teams across the country. March is arguably the most important month pre-playoffs, because it’s when the playoff teams are finalized—making every single point incredibly important. Therefore, it is vital for players to be well rested. However, the games are packed together over the next month and a half to meet the required number played before the playoffs start. With the Bruins playing almost every other day for the next month and a half it will be interesting to see how the scores will play out. Granted, these are all professionally athletes and so I have no doubt that the team will meet expectations in performance.
The reason for a more rigorous March and April schedule is due to the Sochi Winter Olympics that caused a two-week break in February. Due to the high number of NHL players competing in the Olympics, the league chose to put a temporary pause on NHL play.
I am a lover of the Olympics, and I think that it is wonderful that many NHL players had the opportunity to compete for a medal and wear their country’s colors. However, I also think that with so many NHL players on various Olympic hockey teams, it took something away from the games. To me, part of the reason why the Olympics are so wonderful is that athletes previously unknown to the (casual watcher) world get a chance to prove their selves. With so many NHL players participating, it made the hockey part of the games seem less special—almost ordinary.
Watching US play Canada is an amazing experience and guaranteed good hockey. But this year it was a Quick versus Price matchup, which we have all seen many times previously. Even though the teams consisted of players from different NHL teams, the majority of the teams were made of the NHL’s players—dream teams. It made the hockey games seem similar to all-star games, not in the actual level of play but in that the players were simply hand picked all stars from each NHL team. I think that hockey in the Olympics should go back to when the players were not already famous in the hockey world, making the games more special.
To prove my point further, about a week after the Olympics, March 3, we saw another Price versus Quick matchup when the Habs played the Kings. This is a whole different concept then US versus Canada, but at the same time it has a lot of parallels. I think that the Olympics would be better without these parallels.