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Hockey World Reacts to Brad Marchand Blasting NHL for Olympic Decision

The hockey world reacts to comments by Brad Marchand as he blasted the NHL for their decision to pull the players from the 2022 Olympics.

Brad Marchand took the NHL to task for its decision to pull the players out of 2022 Olympic participation, yet they made the decision to introduce taxi squads for the league this season after COVID outbreaks forced the NHL’s hand as players were pulled from their respective lineups.

Related: Maple Leafs Struggle to Build Team After COVID-19 Hits

Marchand posted that there’s no good reason the NHL can’t stick by their word to the players or introduce taxi squads for the players who are selected to the Olympic team to miss NHL games for a few weeks. He argued it should be up to the players to decide whether or not they want to go and called it bulls— that the league can change the already agreed upon CBA, but can’t find a way to make this work for the players.

Marchand noted that many players would willingly forfeit their NHL salaries to go to the Olympics and he’s got a lot of players chiming in and offering support. Vladimir Tarasenko said he saw Marchand’s post and agreed, saying he would want to go still and noted that fans and media might be surprised at how many other NHLers would want to go too. Tarasenko said some of these NHL players grow up thinking about one day being selected as a member of the Olympic team.

Emily Kaplan of ESPN writes, “Brad Marchand says out loud what a lot of his peers have been stewing over privately: the Olympic decision still doesn’t sit well with many NHL players.” Meanwhile, Ken Campbell writes, “I love Brad Marchand and I’ve always been a huge proponent of players going to the Olympics. I think he makes some valid points, but what he doesn’t point out is that his own players’ association is in lockstep with the NHL on this one. Lauren Campbell, who covers the Bruins as a reporter writes, “Brad Marchand was pretty vocal abut his disappointment in not going to the Olympics when he spoke to the media over the weekend. This likely will be Marchand’s last shot at the event, so it’s easy to see where he’s coming from.”

Not Everyone Agrees with Marchand

The comments are receiving some criticism too. Some are responding asking what the NHL was supposed to do in the event that a player tested positive in China? It’s a long quarantine over there which takes some of the league’s best players out of the equation and not just for the time frame in which Olympic games are happening. There’s also the cost of ticket refund requests among NHL teams where fans might not want to watch games in which every major star is missing.

Brad Marchand Boston Bruins NHL
Brad Marchand Boston Bruins NHL

There’s of course the argument about what happens to your own team if you’re selected to the Olympic roster and just take off. The more a team has players selected, the less likely that same NHL is going to win games while the stars are away. A player like Marchand is basically saying he’s prioritizing the Olympics over his own NHL franchise. If multiple players are gone and the Bruins nosedive out of the playoffs as a result, then what?

No Easy Answer For the NHL

There’s certainly no simple solution to an issue that is clearly important to the players. A number of stars were disappointed that the Olympics are no longer an option and many know they’ll be missing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. At the same time, the NHL wasn’t able to let these players go knowing that there were insane risks in doing so.

If you look at what happened with the U.S. World Juniors Team today, it’s clear that this COVID situation is extremely fluid and that’s not ideal when overseas and the risks of not even getting to play games, followed by an easy return home being unlikely are front and center.

Next: McDavid Wants a “Best-on-Best” Tournament if No Olympics

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