Jul 24, 2012; London, UK; A general view of the Olympic rings logo hanging from the roof of St. Pancras International Train Station 3 days before the start of the 2012 London Olympic Games. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports via USA TODAY Sports
3. The Olympics– The Olympics have become the 2nd best hockey tournament in the world trailing only the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Olympic break for the Blackhawks lasts from February 7 to February 27th. Yes, the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010 the last time the NHL had an Olympic break, but the Olympics bring up many different obstacles in the 2013-2014 season.
The Hawks play 58 games in 4 months before the Olympics which sounds pretty familiar doesn’t it? This is 10 games longer than the 2013 shortened season in just a few more days. Time on the ice and rest will be a huge factor to succeed late in the 2014 playoffs. Just like this past season how Coach Quenneville manages the off days and practices will be just as big a factor for the playoffs as how well the Blackhawks play on the ice will be during the season.
The real problem with the Olympics is the 20 day vacation that players could get to heal up for the remaining 20ish games of the regular season and the playoffs or the trade-off playing for their country to win the Gold medal. Let’s be honest unless you’re a true Olympic historian outside of 2010 and 1980 you will be hard pressed to name off the Olympic Gold Medal winner compared to being able to name the Stanley Cup Champions since 1980.
It’s the Stanley Cup that’s the real prize at the end of the day, and it’s the thing that separates players from good, great, and legendary. Of course Mike Eruzione is a name no one forgets for 1980, but do you remember the 1988 Gold winning captain?
The Olympics are great and the stars will play in them, but if Toews, Kane, or Hossa is hampered with an injury the 20 day vacation or playing in the Olympics could be the difference between repeat and not to repeat.