A preseason tournament of this size could be beneficial, but it doesn’t have to be.
When you play an 82-game season and work out almost every day in between, a four-month break isn’t that long. Considering that some players play around 100 games a year and all of them use the summer months to prepare for the next season, it’s even less. Preseason used to be there to get players into shape, but today, players are actually expected to be in their best shape on day one of training camp. So how does the World Cup of Hockey interfere with preseason plans?
Do you think playing in the World Cup before the season is beneficial — especially for the Sedin twins and Loui Eriksson — or is it annoying extra work that could hurt players when it really matters?
There is a little potential benefit to having Eriksson and the Sedins work out their magic in realistic game scenarios instead of playing the second line of the Hershey Bears during exhibition games. And the little bit of extra work probably won’t impact Daniel or Henrik when it really matters, since that will be in three or four years and they’ll be retired or playing for Modo in Sweden.
More from The Canuck Way
- Which team won the Bo Horvat trade?
- What to expect from newcomers Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Räty
- Back to the future: How the skate uniforms became a regular Canucks’ feature night
- Canucks kick off 2023 with disappointing 6-2 loss to Islanders
- 2nd period penalty trouble sinks Canucks in 4-2 loss against Winnipeg
Unless an injury happens, I doubt there will be any adverse effects for players. Most of these players would be heading overseas in the middle of the NHL season if it were an Olympic year. Surely traveling to Toronto to play games that will get them primed for the season will be easier on the body than flying to Sochi or Pyeongchang in February.
Besides, there’s very little for these players to do with their NHL clubs at this time. They don’t need to win their roster spots, they won’t see preseason game action until late in the schedule. Even during preseason there’s no incentive to exert themselves. This could end up benefit a lot of NHL players by getting them primed for competition out of the gate.
From the Canucks’ perspective, the Sedins and Eriksson have already played together, so they probably wouldn’t need the World Cup to find chemistry. But they now have these two weeks to get a head start, so it can’t hurt. Jannik Hansen doesn’t seem to have a low gear, so he would be the same with or without the World Cup. Jacob Markstrom, though, should start at least one game in the round robin, even though Henrik Lundqvist is the obvious starter. Getting a high profile game should benefit him immensely.
I think the affect on the Canucks, if any, will only be positive.
There’s always the risk of players getting injured, no matter the scenario. As long as the players are enthusiastic and willing to participate, I see no problem with the World Cup preceding the season. What player hasn’t dreamed of throwing on his country’s jersey? Whatever happens will happen.
If anything, as Jeff said, the World Cup will get the star players primed for the beginning of the NHL season. Maybe it will make it easier for them to endure the tediousness of preseason games.
I agree with all of the above. But injuries are certainly an issue. Remember how John Tavares got injured at the Olympics in 2014 and was forced to sit out the rest of the NHL season? It might be even worse when something like that happens to start the year.
For the twins and Eriksson, I think playing together is certainly beneficial. But I kind of have the feeling that a gimmicky tournament like the WCH could be a little like the All-Star game, with everyone being extra careful. If that were the case, they might as well make this the last time.
Then again, everyone is proud to represent their country in an international tournament and the Team North America and Team Europe players probably want to prove they are no worse than the world’s top nations. So, I guess the All-Star effect is extremely unlikely and everyone will just benefit from playing in a serious game scenario before the NHL season starts.
Next: World Champions