Chicago Blackhawks Should Bypass World Cup Of Hockey

By Mike Brennan
Mar 2, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto mayor John Tory (third from right) unveils a countdown clock for the upcoming 2016 World Cup of Hockey in Toronto. Looking on from left are Team Europe general manager Miroslav Satan, former World Cup participants Pat Lafontaine and Darryl Sitltler , NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly (second from right) and NHL players pssociation director Don Fehr (far right). Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 2, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto mayor John Tory (third from right) unveils a countdown clock for the upcoming 2016 World Cup of Hockey in Toronto. Looking on from left are Team Europe general manager Miroslav Satan, former World Cup participants Pat Lafontaine and Darryl Sitltler , NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly (second from right) and NHL players pssociation director Don Fehr (far right). Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /
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Any Chicago Blackhawks Picked For The 2016 World Cup Of Hockey Should Skip It

It was determined Friday that 13 players from the Chicago Blackhawks will be making their way to Toronto this September for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. It was announced back in March that Corey Crawford, Duncan Keith and Jonathan Toews would be representing Team Canada and Patrick Kane would be playing for Team USA. Along with those four players, Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin would be playing for Russia, Teuvo Teravainen will be suiting up for Finland, Niklas Hjalmarsson for Sweden and Marian Hossa for Team Europe.

Last week came news Marcus Kruger would be playing for Sweden and Ville Pokka would be playing for Team Finland. Lastly, Christian Ehrhoff was added to team Europe. While this would be a great opportunity for all the players involved, one hot take keeps rumbling around in my head: The ‘Hawks players should completely skip this.

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While this take may be a little too hot and a little too ridiculous to actually happen, there is some validity to it, especially for core players like Toews, Kane, Keith, Hjalmarsson and Hossa. If this were the Olympics, you would not see me writing about the ‘Hawks players skipping it.

The World Cup of Hockey is completely different in this respect. I do not think this event should be enough to get the ‘Hawks stars out of bed. While the jerseys and early hockey will be cool, the event itself is not worth the extra mileage on the stars.

Since 2008, the ‘Hawks have played 622 regular-season games and 124 postseason games. That is the most amount of games played by any team in league history during that span of years. All those games and all those short summers have began to make a difference with the players on the ‘Hawks.

Seabrook has lost a step, Toews had a below-average year and Keith has definitely fallen behind a bit. With how physical and intense the sport of hockey is, fans cannot expect the ‘Hawks to continue to make these deep runs with no repercussions in the future. All of this information goes into the fact the ‘Hawks need to skip this event.

Let’s get this out of the way first. Gary Bettman is obviously not the best commissioner in the sports world and I think he messed up again by bringing back the World Cup of Hockey. It adds unnecessary mileage to some of the league’s best players. Sure they get to compete for their country and all, that but isn’t that what the Olympics are for?

Bettman also messed up by giving the television rights to ESPN. While the NHL did have an exclusive deal with ESPN years ago, those years have passed. As we all know, ESPN and the NHL have not had the greatest relationship in the past couple years. ESPN was mad that the NHL went with NBC, so they barely talk about hockey, which shapes the minds of the sports fans who watch ESPN all the time.

ESPN is going to do a half-ass job with the entire tournament, and non-hockey fans still will not tune into the event. It will be September, and ESPN will be more worried about the start of the NFL and not give much coverage to this tournament, even though it is on their network.

Next: Jonathan Toews Should Be World Cup Captain

After taking a look into all of this, the best option for the ‘Hawks is to completely skip this tournament. Stan Bowman is not paying his studs to play in this pointless tournament and risk injury. Does winning this tournament get a banner in the United Center or does it get the organization farther away from that day?

That is the question that all of this ultimately comes down to. The Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup window is slowly but surely getting a little smaller each year they put on the Indian Head sweater. The World Cup of Hockey will just make that window even smaller for the very little return on investment it has.

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