Again the issue is that I wright you a pay check for the two weeks while you go play an intense energy packed tournament which is most likely in some other country that has very different accommodations. You being the player return back to work tired, potentially lacking some motivation. You may also return to work with an injury that you acquired during the tournament. If so I pay to fix your injury and I pay you to sit and watch while you recover from your injuries. If you as an owner would not be pissed right off about that then there are bigger issues.
You are correct each team plays 41 home and away games regardless of it being an Olympic year. The issue is not that they play less games. The issues are that the League is taking a two week break. In many ways this break in the season does hurt the product of the NHL. It can make people "clock out" and become less interested. Say the race for a playoff spot or your team just being on a roll. It can hurt a teams chemistry. If my hockey team is on a roll and playing well the last thing I want is a two week break that has some players go to a tournament and has some players go on a tropical vacation. Olympic hockey has a ton of positives, but who the hell in North America is going to watch a game on a weekday at 6 am? I don't know how to make all of this more clear.
edit- The NHL is all about expansion. The NHL is trying to grow the product (the game of hockey)
A 15 team league would for sure not be more profitable. It would probably be the worst thing that has ever happened to the NHL, screwing up a ton of forward progress that has been made.
The checks get written regardless. Doesn't really matter when or what the player is doing at the time. Might be a minor complaint if the break causes there to be an extra pay period prior to the trade deadline (but no games to offset it), but I'm not sure if that's the case.
The injury thing should should be a non-issue. I assume we still consider this a free country, and we are generally opposed to the notion of letting our employers dictate what risks we are allowed to take in our private lives. While I might agree with the notion of owners requiring the players bear some of the liability if they were to get injured (though I'm pretty sure they already have insurance for that), I don't think there's any justification to stop them from playing. Injuries, much less serious ones, aren't really that common. It's not an unreasonable risk.
As for the loss of interest/profits from the break; do you have any data to support that? 2010 saw record revenues, and I think 2006 did as well and that was right after the lockout year. Not sure about 98 or 02, but I know in general revenues have been skyrocketting for about 20 years now.
It's disruptive and a pain in the ass from a scheduling standpoint. Big deal. It's once every four years.
This is nothing but a power play from the owners and league, because they think of the players as property. They think any minor concern they might be able to think of matters more than anything the players might want. I'd like to say it will eventually come back on them, but it probably wont. Lockout #4 will come, the owners will win again, and by the next year no one will care.