NHL Players Need A Doze Of Reality

The NHL has announced that due to the effect of COVID on its season, it has withdrawn its participation for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing, China. In the recent month, the league has had to postpone a number of games and are still dealing with teams who cannot field a proper roster to fulfil their schedule and it’s not getting any better. Fans aren’t allowed in several buildings while others are seeing restrictions to the numbers allowed at games.

This decision is not popular with some NHL players. Sidney Crosby has shared his disappointment after the announcement and so have others since then. The most recent comments came from Boston Bruins’ Brad Marchand, St. Louis Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko and Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid.

Marchand tweeted the following:

Tarasenko also expressed his unhappiness over the league’s decision.

“I think every Russian has a dream to play for the national team. It’s very bad they took it away from us, I think it’s unfair. They give each player a choice, but we don’t have a choice at the end. So I think it’s very bad from them.”

Tarasenko indicated he read Marchand’s interview on Monday and agreed with the Bruins winger.

“So with all the restrictions, all the rules, I don’t really understand the point when people are deciding for you.”

He added he would’ve participated in the Beijing Games if given the choice.

“I think you’d be surprised how many people would choose to go.”

Reality check

I’ve been very critical of the NHL on many topics but players need to take a breather here. The NHL is not doing this to piss them off. They’re not taking that decision lightly. In this case, they’re doing it for the good of the game.

Listen up Brad, Vladimir and every other player bellyaching over this decision… Nothing is owed to you. Playing hockey in the NHL is your job. It’s also your choice to play at the highest level in the world. You’re not complaining when you’re drawing your millions every year, are you? You are paid to play hockey in the NHL. You’ve signed a contract indicating so. No one has put a gun to your head to do so. You’re not paid to go play to win medals. If that’s what you want to do, give up on your dream to play in the NHL, of having a boss.

You know how many people would love to go on an extended vacation but can’t do it? Some can’t do it because they can’t afford taking the time off. Others can afford it but they don’t have the vacation time to do so. Then you have some who have the vacation time, can afford it, but their employer needs them for the job they do as it’s their busy season. If you’re trying to gain popular support, think again!

NHL players need to stop acting like spoiled brats and realize that playing NHL hockey is their job. Owners invest their money on them and the players’ priority is to their NHL team and to the league they play in. Without the league, without the owners who need to have income coming in, players have nothing.

I understand that they want to play best on best and represent their country. It’s commendable. But instead of making stupid public statements like that, players should simply talk to their NHLPA executive and try finding a way to have a World Cup of Hockey instead. They need to get a reality check and realize that the decision is for the best of the game. Otherwise Brad, and all who have temper tantrums about it, there’s always the KHL. In the meantime, excuse me while I go collect my minimal pension cheque while health care workers continue to over-extend themselves dealing with the pandemic at the origin of the NHL’s decision.

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The NHL Must Take a Break

The COVID-19 outbreak is causing major issues in the NHL… again. And there seems to be no rhyme or reason for the NHL to decide which games, which teams are being shut down and have games postponed. Some teams have played with 16-17 skaters. Others were shut down for less than that. The league and its Commissioner need to stop taking players for replaceable cattle and shut down its activity until the new year. It’s the responsible thing to do.

The list of players getting on the COVID protocol is expanding every single day and it has reached dangerously high levels. More than 100 players have tested into protocols in the past week, causing five teams to postpone their schedules and two to postpone games this weekend. Here’s the list as of December 18, 2021:

PHIWillman, Frost
DETSmith, Rowney, Nedeljkovic, Fabbri, Rasmussen, Zadina
FLAEkblad, Vatrano, Bennett, Gudas, Montour, Lomberg, Verhaeghe
CARJarvis, Aho, Svechnikov, Cole, Lorentz, Staal
NYIBarzal (team shut down earlier this season)
BOSMarchand, Bergeron, Smith, Blidh, Steen, Swayman, Frederic,Lazar, Hall
TORTavares, Kerfoot, Simmonds, Spezza, Dermott, Campbell, Brodie
WASBackstrom, Kuznetsov
MTLLehkonen (Gallagher and Niku were just removed)
SEASheahan, Blackwell, Gourde, Oleksiak
VANSchenn, Lammikko, Poolman, Hunt, Motte, Myers
EDMMcLeod, Shore, Nugent-Hopkins, Keith, Puljujarvi
NASGrandlund, Johansen, Luff, McCarron, Harper, Tomasino, Cousins
CALDube, Kylington, Maingipane, Lindholm, Richardson, Ruzicha, Tanev, Monahan, Hanifin, Gaudreau, Froese, Gudbranson, Lewis, Andersson, Markstrom, Pitlick, Backlund, Lucic, Zadorov
COLCompher, Burakovsky, Makar, Kuemper, Toews
LAKDoughty, Petersen
ARICrouse, Galchenyuk, Beagle

Here’s the thing. Scientist still don’t know the long term effect of COVID-19 and its variants. Yet, the league is putting their best assets, the players, in jeopardy each and every day. Why? In the name of money. They must make up for lost revenues the past couple of seasons due to COVID. From a league claiming that the stories of Kyle Beach and others must be dealt with, where players are better supported and protected, I can’t be the only person thinking that it’s hypocritical to make them play, risking their health that way. It’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.

The NHL must shut down and do it now. They must cancel their participation to the Beijing Olympics due to the recent outbreak and the political instability, the risk of sending their players, coaches, trainers there. For once, the league must think of the people, other than putting money in a few owners’ pockets. Now is the time. Actually, last week was the time. Now it’s overdue.

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