Hockey players around the world dream of shining on the big stage at the Winter Games, but is having players from the NHL in the Olympics worth the injury risk?
Players across the league clearly voiced their desire to play in the 2014 Winter Olympics, and they were granted that wish. But their participation in the 2018 Winter Games remains uncertain. Commissioner Gary Bettman could cite injury concerns as a reason not to send players to Pyeongchang, South Korea, in four years.
In Sochi, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Paul Martin suffered a hand injury during the quarterfinals and is expected to be sidelined for up to a month. Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg pulled out of the Olympics after just one game with Sweden because of a herniated disc in his back. Zetterberg had surgery Friday and likely will miss the rest of the regular season.
Additionally, New York Islanders star John Tavares suffered a season-ending injury in Sochi after tearing his medial collateral ligament and meniscus in his left knee during Canada’s quarterfinal win over Latvia. The New York Rangers also lost Mats Zuccarello, their leading scorer, for 3-4 weeks with a non-displaced fracture in his left hand.
NHL teams risk losing their best players to injury when they send them to the world’s top international tournament, but is it a risk worth a taking?
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