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Sakic says Olympics more helpful for players than vacation

Feb 7, 2014, 10:52 AM EDT

Joe Sakic AP

With a number of NHL players soon headed to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics, many others are getting set for a two-week vacation in the middle of the season.

You would imagine getting time to rest and heal up before the run for the playoffs would be a good thing. Colorado Avalanche executive vice president of hockey operations, and former Team Canada member, Joe Sakic disagrees as he shares with Adrian Dater of The Denver Post.

“It’s better to play,” Sakic said. “I think it keeps you sharper, and the level of hockey you’re playing that whole time, that can make you better.”

It’s tough to disagree with a guy who is in the Hockey Hall of Fame and won the gold medal in 2002 in Salt Lake City. Ideally getting time off would seem like a helpful thing, but he’s right about staying sharp.

Perhaps teams loaded with Olympians will be set to go on a tear following the Sochi games. That would be good news for teams like the Detroit Red Wings fighting to get into the postseason.

  1. jpelle82 - Feb 7, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    i agree. overall different experience from the daily grind, legs stay fresh, learning opportunity. all good things. a guy like daniel sedin has a chance to get on big ice, away from his brother, into a swedish system and get some confidence back maybe. nice little break away from the nightmare that is vancouver right now, i feel sorry for henrik.

  2. joey4id - Feb 7, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    Dang! One of my favorite commenters, stakex, called the Olympics a vacation for those players participating. C’mon! Joe! Get in line with our man!

    • xx1111 - Feb 7, 2014 at 2:42 PM

      He called it a vacation for the players NOT playing in the Olympics

  3. hockeydon10 - Feb 7, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    Seems like more players and coaches are saying this than the opposite. Babcock also said he felt the Olympians would come back and be energized from that experience.

  4. atwatercrushesokoye - Feb 7, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    I would agree if the Olympics were in North America but there’s no way that travelling to the other side of the world (literally) and back, dealing with jet lag both ways and playing a bunch of high stakes games in a very short time span will help veteran players who have been there before. In fact I would argue the opposite that teams with lots of players play gnr at the Olympics will be a distinct disadvantage during the stretch run and in the playoffs.

    Where I would agree with Sakic is for younger players getting their first taste of hockey at this level (such as Matt Duchene of the Avalanche) it will give them the chance to be in the room with the best and most respected players and give them a chance to see how those players prepare and how they do things daily, plus it will potentially give them experience in single elimination, high pressure, playoff games. Getting that experience for the young players will be more valuable than a vacation, and Duchene will bring those experiences back to a very young Avalanche team which should benefit them.

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