Those million-dollar athletes? They do caring about a Olympics

4:00 PM ET

CHICAGO — Patrick Kane was still 8 years brief of being innate when a “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympic hockey group shook a world, while Marcus Kruger was only 3 years aged for one of a biggest moments in Sweden’s Olympic history. But a Blackhawks teammates contend many of their hockey upbringing was formed on a dual events.

“That was a small too early for me to remember, though we can’t even tell we how many times I’ve watched that stage when Peter Forsberg scored a winning idea [to start a seventh turn of a bullion medal-clinching shootout opposite Canada in a 1994 Winter Games],” Kruger said. “That’s something we’re all going to lift with us.”

For Kane, it was a 2004 film “Miracle” that gave him a “whole backstory” of America’s biggest Olympic hockey triumph.

The Blackhawks sauce room is zero if not abounding in Olympic tradition. Ten Chicago players representing 5 opposite countries participated in a 2014 Winter Games, 8 of whom are still on a team. And even on a eve of their first-round playoff array opposite Nashville, they didn’t mind articulate about a NHL’s proclamation final week that a joining would not be participating in a 2018 Olympics.

Well, many didn’t mind.

“The Olympics aren’t critical for me right now, a playoffs are,” Duncan Keith said.

NHL not going to ’18 Olympics in South Korea

The NHL finished months of discuss by announcing that it will not send a players to South Korea for a 2018 Winter Games. The NHL Players’ Association called a preference “shortsighted.”

  • Olympics talks were a bunglefest

    The IOC and a NHLPA have to be holding a good demeanour in a counterpart after a NHL pronounced Monday it will not be going to a Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

  • He positively could be forgiven his grumpiness as a Hawks’ defenseman and his teammates are vigilant on erasing a memory of final year’s first-round exit opposite St. Louis in 7 games. But Keith, a member of Canada’s bullion medal-winning 2010 and 2014 Olympic teams, pronounced final week he was uncertain about either or not he would mount by a league’s decision. And a awaiting of blank a Olympics can alleviate even a many focused of NHL sauce rooms.

    “Playing for your country, there’s no improved feeling than that,” Kruger said. “And carrying had a possibility to be there in Sochi and play for [Sweden], it was one of a best practice I’ve ever had. Hearing your inhabitant anthem and personification a game, it’s something special.”

    At one time, a awaiting of veteran athletes in a Olympics seemed a fun and an aspersion to a Olympic ideal. Why would a garland of multimillionaires even caring about participating? But a general deteriorate of pro sports — 16 opposite countries are represented on a NHL’s 2016-17 rosters; a record-tying 18 on vital joining round teams and a record 41 in a NBA — make any locker room a pseudo Olympic Village in itself. And there is no mistaking a inhabitant honour exhibited when a theme of a Olympics comes up.

    “I consider everybody grows adult examination a Olympics,” Kane said. “A lot of us during a age and a era grew adult examination NHL players personification in a Olympics too, so it was fun — a top turn of foe we can be at. You’re personification for your country, there’s a lot of honour in that.”

    For many athletes, a possibility to wear their nation’s colors supersedes all else, memories of whole towns huddled around TVs when their countries were competing during an memorable partial of their childhoods.

    For Marian Hossa, a four-time Olympian for Slovakia, a Games were always must-see observation while flourishing up. “The Olympics were so many fun since it was opposite and not only hockey,” he said. “But obviously, when there was a hockey diversion on, everybody watched it.”

    It is a interest of a worldwide audience, players have been observant this past week, that should make Olympic appearance a no-brainer for a NHL, notwithstanding a 17-day mangle in report it would create. And a risk of damage is shrugged off like a normal indenture above a eye.

    “For younger players generally to knowledge it, we consider would be outrageous for them,” Hossa said. “It would be bad for hockey if we don’t finish adult going, though generally for a immature guys …”

    The idea of that Olympic change was reliable by Kruger, who pronounced he dreamed initial of representing his nation and afterwards personification in a NHL.

    “That’s a large partial of how we got into hockey, examination when Sweden won a bullion in ’94 though a pros,” he said. “But it’s good selling for a sport. Everyone is examination it, everybody is caring about it. It’s unhappy if all a best players can’t be there. All a players here would adore to be in one.”

    Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin pronounced final week he didn’t caring what a NHL decided, job a proclamation “a bluff” and vowing “I’m still going.”

    Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist echoed Kruger’s sentiments about a selling eventuality wasted.

    “But many of all,” Lundqvist tweeted, “[it’s] unsatisfactory for all a players that can’t be partial of a many special journey in sports.”

    Kane smiled by post-practice depletion Wednesday as he remembered a initial time he represented a United States. “I remember going to a World Championships during 17 years aged and being partial of that and how many fun and how cold it was during that age,” he said, “so we can suppose how cold it was being there and afterwards doing it during a Olympics.”

    In his initial Olympic Games, in Vancouver in 2010, a U.S. won a china award and Kane scored 3 goals and had dual assists in 6 games. But instead, a former No. 1 altogether breeze pick, who had reduction than dual months progressing sealed a 5-year, reported $31.5 million agreement extension, now remembers a consternation with that he noticed a experience.

    “You’re examination all these good athletes do opposite events and get a lot of media and a lot of attention, and afterwards we only see them walking around like unchanging people via a athletes’ encampment … we turn a fan.”

    He removed going with his U.S. teammates to watch a halfpipe eventuality in snowboarding and carrying a “different experience” of saying associate Blackhawks roving their bikes by a Olympic drift with their possess countrymen before reuniting behind home and winning a Stanley Cup pretension that season.

    Kane also remembered examination a 1998 Olympics in Nagano and his hometown favourite Dominik Hasek, then-goaltender for a Buffalo Sabres, “doing extraordinary things for a Czech Republic, so it was fun to watch and keep tabs on him, and we roughly found yourself rooting for him via that tournament,” he said. “I consider that was a initial time we saw NHL players in a Olympics, so it was opposite to watch pro players not play for a means though join together and play for their countries.”

    Presumably, it is what we wish from veteran athletes, a means bigger than themselves and their contracts. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews assimilated others final week in accusing a joining of creation a preference not about a diversion though about income and “what they can get out of us when a subsequent [collective negotiate agreement] traffic rolls around.”

    For players like Kruger, who remembered a disturb as a 7-year-old child of being authorised to watch Sweden’s Olympic hockey games on radio in school, income doesn’t cause in.

    “I remember watching, and afterwards you’d go out and play outside hockey though skates and a ball,” he said. “I consider a Olympics is unequivocally critical for a competition and flourishing a competition in other tools of a universe that doesn’t get to see many NHL games.”

    Since Nagano, 706 NHL players have participated in a Winter Olympics. It is a tradition they are clearly not happy about giving up.

    “When we have that respect and that eventuality to be one of a few players to paint [your country],” Kane said, “you unequivocally don’t wish to pass that up.”

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