By Nick Gendreau| Follow me on Twitter @Ngendreau1993
Boston Bruins alternate captain and leading goal scorer Brad Marchand let everybody know how he felt about the NHL not allowing their players to attend the Winter Olympics in China come February. Marchand isn’t the only one to express his frustration, but his press conference and social media post on Twitter gave everybody his actual perspective.
Marchand’s epic quote of, “I know at the end of the day they (the NHL) don’t care about the Olympics. They don’t make money on it, and that’s ultimately what this is; it’s a business, and we’re an asset. Let’s just call a spade a spade” is one of the reasons he’s such a great leader. There aren’t many players of his caliber who will speak out like that, and that’s part of what’s defined Marchand’s leadership qualities for years.
It is true. The NHL makes zero money by allowing their players to play in the Olympics. However, it does provide an excellent form of growth and exposure in other parts of the world. With the event happening every four years and a worldwide pandemic going on, this will be the second straight time NHL players will miss the Olympics.
Brad Marchand also had this to say, posting a note he wrote on his phone to his Twitter yesterday.
Marchand clarifies that money isn’t the issue here; it is the fact that the NHL & NHLPA went back on their word during last year’s CBA (collective bargaining agreement) negotiations. Both parties agreed to allow the players to play for their respective countries during this year’s Olympics. The idea of a taxi squad for NHL teams while the players were at the Olympics should have been considered, but the way the Bruins top forward makes it sound; it probably wasn’t.
Players want to represent their country on the biggest stage, and others have shown their frustration in the NHL’s decision, including some of Marchand’s teammates and the face of the NHL, Connor McDavid. In addition to McDavid, Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron said he absolutely would have gone. This would have been his last opportunity to play in the Olympics and go for another gold with Team Canada.
If that quote doesn’t tell you that Patrice Bergeron is on the back nine, then I’m not sure what else could. The possibly more significant fact facing Bruins fans is that Bergeron will enter free agency at the end of the year and not has yet to decide on whether or not he will even play hockey next season.
Taylor Hall also had some comments regarding the decision, “I feel bad for a lot of guys…Who knows if the league really even wanted us to go in the first place,” Hall told the Boston Sports Journal.
As mentioned, Connor McDavid, who I regard as the face of the NHL, was also distraught and let his feelings be known to the media last Sunday per The Athletic, “It’s very disappointing. It’s hard to really put into words what I think a lot of guys are feeling, especially the guys that haven’t gotten to go before.” McDavid also noted that at some point the NHL needs to consider having a “best on best” style tournament, which has been seen before in the World Cup of Hockey. Obviously, it’s not the Olympics but it is a way to put teams together made up of the best players per country and battle it out to prove who is the top dog.”
This situation isn’t an easy decision for anyone. However, if players wanted to be at the Olympics, they should have been allowed to travel. If a player is willing not to make money and risk a potential five-week quarantine to represent their country, I have nothing but respect for that decision. At least the players aren’t afraid to hold back their thoughts, but hopefully, the NHL can figure out this debacle and healthily finish the season while passing out Lord Stanley once again.