The NHL won't participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics. That sucks. Hockey fans around the world were hoping to see NHL players back at the Olympics for the first time since 2014. But there is a silver lining for the New York Islanders.
Since 2018-19 only three teams have played more hockey than the New York Islanders and their 281 games (regular season and playoffs). Those teams are: Tampa Bay Lightning (289 games), Vegas Golden Knights (286), and Boston Bruins (282).
New York Islanders: Silver lining to Olympics decision
That's a lot of hockey for the Islanders and their players. Not going to the Olympics will give some of their top guys a much-needed break (of sorts).
Of course, It wasn't the entire Islanders that was going to the Olympics, but there was a good chance that a few players would make the various teams going. Adam Pelech and Mathew Barzal were probably going to make Team Canada. Ilya Sorokin might make Team Russia. All three are vital for the Isles.
Again, these guys have played a ton of hockey already. Going to China for the Olympics and then returning to finish out the year would have been an extra physical burden that no longer exists.
Remember, the Islanders are still trying to make the playoffs, and will likely still be trying to make it by what would have been the Olympic break. The Isles will likely need 98 points by the end of the regular season to make the playoffs, they have 22 right now. So they need to hold a 0.675 points percentage the rest of the way through to maybe make it.
They'll need Pelech, Barzal, and Sorokin to do that.
Not having to travel to China (during a global pandemic) to play 4-6 extra games (and the stress involved) and just focusing on the regular season is a silver lining to this decision.
Not to mention the potential for injury. The Islanders have gone through that before. Remember 2014, when John Tavares injured his knee and was done for the year? That was a year where Tavares was on pace to score 90+ points before he left for the Olympics.
Losing any of Pelech, Barzal, or Sorokin like the Isles lost Tavares would be disastrous. We've already seen what happens when Adam Pelech is out of the lineup. Just in case you forgot, the Isles are 10-16-7 without him.
Of course, I'm not glad to see this decision. But it's not happening and these is a positive.