So the NHL, which didn’t want to shut down during the Winter Olympics, has given half its teams this week off.
The other half of the teams get next week off. And later in January the NHL takes a four-day break for its meaningless All-Star Game. About 1.5 weeks later, the 2018 Winter Olympics men’s hockey schedule starts in Korea, without any current NHL players participating.
These midseason, week-long byes are likely appreciated by the NHL Players’ Association. And the league’s schedule was constructed with byes so it could be altered, crammed together as it were, to open a couple weeks in mid-February just in case the IIHF and NHL somehow reached a last-minute compromise. They didn’t.
The NHL all along insisted it didn’t want to shut down its schedule, thus preventing its players from being in this year’s Olympics. With half its teams inactive anyway, that reason sounds distinctly like a half-truth.