It was announced today that Canadian forward and New York Islanders Captain John Tavares will be lost for the season. Tavares sustained a torn MCL and Mencius in Team Canada’s game against Latvia earlier this week. Tavares had no points with a plus six rating for the tournament. Team Canada will be affected by his loss but the GREATER loss will be felt by the New York Islanders. That’s right the New York Islanders who pay Tavares to be their captain and best player. Tavares had 24 goals and 42 assists on the season in 59 games. His career high is 31 goals and 50 assists in 2011-12. Tavares played in all 82 games that season. He was currently averaging 1.12 points per game. With 21 games left, Tavares would have smashed his career highs this season.
This brings me to overarching point, should NHL players compete in the Olympics? I am inclined to say NO! NHL players should not be allowed to play in the Olympics and here are three reasons why:
Major Superstar injury: Hockey is a violent sport and players do get injured in the regular season. Those players get hurt playing for their NHL team. Tavares is a prime example of what could go wrong at the Olympics. Tavares is one of the best players in the NHL and due to injury sustained in a non NHL game his team will negatively affected. The New York Islanders suffer and so does the NHL.
NHL teams pay their salaries: NHL players who compete in the Olympics do not earn their living from their respective countries Olympic team. They get paid from their NHL teams. The NHL team invests time, money, and effort to develop these players for the season. All of it could be lost in a game that does not help their NHL team’s Stanley Cup chances. Some NHL owners are outspoken against their players playing in the Olympics. The Islanders are paying 5.5 dollars for Tavares this season. Due the Olympics, they are paying 5.5 million to play 59 games instead of 82 games. Imagine the outrage if the Islanders were in the playoff hunt, it might New York Knicks level angst.