They won't care if they aren't playing against the other best players in the league. That's what makes it appealing. Like I said, no NHL players broke contracts or had clauses put into their contracts to play in the Olympics before 1998. It wasn't important and it will again become unimportant.
That was because North American "professionals" were not allowed to play in the Olympics before 1998. So they wouldn't have been allowed to play even if they broke their contracts. It's a whole new game after 1998.
I'm all for not participating in the Olympics, but part of me thinks this is going to be used as a bargaining chip on the part of the NHL. They could probably get some pretty big concessions from the NHLPA.
I think you are right. This is Bettman starting his next CBA "negotiations" early. They (the owners) have done used the Olympic participation as a bargaining chip every time since 1998.
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