Saturday, 1 July 2017

The 2018 Canadian Olympic hockey team.

I don’t know if this has been decided yet or clearly explained, but how is the 2018 Canadian Olympic team going to be staffed? Is it going to be unsigned guys, down-on-their-luck UFA’s looking for a last kick at the can? Or are NHL teams going to loan out young players who aren’t central to their plans for next season, for the development opportunity, much like the World Junior team gets players from NHL teams, guys like Anthony Duclair in 2016, who wouldn’t play much otherwise?

And do these players just go to a training camp a couple weeks before the Olympics, or do they spend the entire season together, like the old-school Canadian teams in Lake Placid and Sarajevo did, with players like Eric Lindros and Craig Redmond choosing to go to the Olympics for various reasons, patriotism being one?

As I’m writing this, I’m thinking of Charles Hudon, Brett Lernout, Stefan Matteau. The latter could use this as a way to resurrect his career. The former two I could see as just the kind of tweeners the Canadiens could loan to the Olympic team, for the opportunity to play high competition hockey.

But then again, do you want your players developing outside your control, especially for a whole season or almost? Rumour is Willie Desjardins would be the coach of the Olympic team and Sean Burke the GM. Does that make it more or less likely that the Canadiens loan out players?

And, do the Canadiens want to hamper themselves like this, in a year when they’re launching the Laval franchise? Why would you not want to put out as competitive a team as possible up there all the way up North up there in Laval up there? What would be the putative benefit of playing against KHL stars in a tournament no one will watch?

Oh, and waivers? Do loaned players have to go through waivers first? Because if they do, then no one is getting loaned, right? No one of any consequence. If the Canadiens held on to Jarred Tinordi for so long for fear of exposing him to waivers, then no way is Charles Hudon being waived for the Olympic team.

Then it will be a snoozer of a tournament for me. I won’t be waking up at four in the morning and mixing up Greyhounds to watch, like I did for Sochi.

I have to say, grudgingly, that I’m surprised Gary Bettman actually carried out his threat, I always thought it was posturing but he’d announce a positive decision at the last moment, after squeezing the IOC for every concession he could.

I’m also surprised he kneecapped his precious ‘partner’ NBC like that. They can’t be happy about this.

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