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Most of them compete on world cup circuits. They aren't really paid millions by a team to compete. If they do get paid big money, it is off of endorsments that come after some success. But, there is no professional Track and Field league where there are teams and free agency etc. They compete for money and medals, they aren't paid to compete.

Out of curiousity, what makes a professional a professional? It's easy to say that players in the NHL or in MLB are professionals, as they play their sport for a living and are paid a salary irrespective of their performance. But where is the line drawn?

Take sports like Tennis and Golf. Are 'professional' tennis players paid a salary? They get paid for their tounament placing, and they get sponsorship deals, but (other than the amount they're paid) is that really any different than the track star?

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Out of curiousity, what makes a professional a professional? It's easy to say that players in the NHL or in MLB are professionals, as they play their sport for a living and are paid a salary irrespective of their performance. But where is the line drawn?

Take sports like Tennis and Golf. Are 'professional' tennis players paid a salary? They get paid for their tounament placing, and they get sponsorship deals, but (other than the amount they're paid) is that really any different than the track star?

Actually yes because a PRO tennis player competes in a tournament for cash prizes an ameture that competes can't claim any prize money just the trophy same goes with Golf an Ameture can compete if he makes the cut but can't collect the prize money for their finnish.

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I understand both sides of the debate, but I think it comes down to what you feel is most important right.

Say in 2014 our Habs are sitting 4th or higher in the conference going into the Olympic break (if there is one). We have players like Plekanec, Subban, Eller and whoever else take off and go play. I have no issue with them playing for their country, thats fine and dandy. The issue is, if they get injured while playing in the Olympics and come back to the NHL and are out for 4-8weeks. Then what happens to our team? From an NHL point of view, I see it as protecting your investment. Imagine your playoff hopes being dashed because one or more of your players end up getting injured in the Olympics. I think that's the issue that many who are against players going to the Olympics have. We've seen it before, it's not something that doesn't happen. This is hockey, players get injured all the time, how would a fan feel if their teams player got injured playing for something other than the Cup?

Like I said, I understand that players play for their country out of pride etc. I just understand the "why not" side of the argument.

Nicely put RSD...my thoughts also.

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Actually yes because a PRO tennis player competes in a tournament for cash prizes an ameture that competes can't claim any prize money just the trophy same goes with Golf an Ameture can compete if he makes the cut but can't collect the prize money for their finnish.

Thanks, that's what I was wondering.

Personally I don't see why the olympics have to be an amateur competition. To me the whole spirit of the games is to hold friendly sporting events among the best athletes in the world. It seems really arbitrary to disqualify an athlete just because he or she happens to get paid for playing that sport.

The only downside I could see is that this could give an advantage to countries with better professional leagues/facilities, but in today's age of globalization athletes are constantly training in other countries anyway.

If anything, being a professional athlete might allow the guy from the poor country to make enough money to train on par with the guy from the rich country.

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Nobody at the Olympics is an amateur nowadays.

Remember, Jim Thorpe in the 1920s had his gold medal in track taken away because the IOC found out he once received $20 for playing in a baseball game. If they held modern athletes to those standards - there would be nobody at the Olympics.

As far as NHL goes... they may decide to disallow players from competing at Sochi, but it would be an irrelevant decision. Already Ovechkin and Malkin have stated they will go no matter what. I'm certain any other Russian who gets called to the national team will go. I'm fairly sure that Swedes, Finns, Czechs, Germans will likely flip the bird to the NHL and go to play for the national team. And I wouldn't be entirely surprised if some Canadian and American players were to go, too (if for no other reason than knowing that if they don't, their country gets their tails handed to them on a platter). And if that happens, what can the NHL really do? Even if only Ovechkin and Malkin go - what will the NHL do? Suspend two of its biggest stars? That would be the best way of shooting themselves in the foot they could come up with.

To whoever mentioned Olympic soccer being a U23 tournament - that's because soccer can afford to do that; it already has the World Cup, which is THE premier football event on the planet.

Hockey can't do that. That said, I'd have no issue with the Olympic hockey being all amateur, if and ONLY if the NHL and the IIHF work something out about the World Championships. An annual one.

A competition like the Canada Cup is not sufficient for hockey, because that has always been just an invitational - Canada, Sweden, Russia, Finland, USA, Czechia, Slovakia... with zero possibility for other up-and-coming nations to earn a spot in the competition. Thus, zero incentive for countries where hockey is a fringe sport to invest in its development.

A competition like the World Cup in soccer, held every four years, is also NOT a workable option for hockey. Soccer can afford to do that for various reasons - other regional competitions like the UEFA Cup, the African Nations' Cup, the Asian Cup, etc., and the fact that the qualifications for the World Cup take almost all of the intervening three years. If you change hockey to a once-every-four-years format, the qualifications would be done in one year... what do you do for the other two? There would be little to nothing for national teams to do in the intervening times. And, in Europe and Asia, as well as in the developing hockey countries in the Middle East and Africa, the national team takes vast precedence over club hockey - to the extent that European leagues schedule pauses in their seasons to allow players to go play for their national teams.

Hockey isn't big enough globally to allow holding a world championship only once every four years; the yearly format is necessary for both the development of the players (don't get me started on European kids coming over to the OHL/QMJHL/WHL...) and for development of general awareness of the sport in countries where hockey is a fringe thing. Just one example: hockey is gaining popularly at a great speed in Hungary, especially since the 2008 Division 1 world championship, which Hungary won to qualify to play in the Elite pool in 2009 for the first time since the 1930s - the fact that the Hungarian national team got to play Canada - with a fairly well-laden team of NHL names - was the trigger for the rapid upsurge in the popularity of hockey in a country where football is king. If there was no World Championship, but only a Canada Cup type of competition, such a thing would never have happened, and hockey would still be a relative irrelevancy in Hungary. Further, it was that victory, and similar significant events in the hockey programs of other developing countries, that prompted national sport ministries to allocate funding for hockey. If there isn't an annual global-stage event featuring the best in the world, there is ZERO incentive for any sport ministry to allocate funding to a fringe sport... meaning hockey stagnates. If the NHL had its way, and there is no NHL players in the Olympics, and no NHL players in the world championships, in a few years time, hockey will be played seriously ONLY in Canada, USA, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czechia and Slovakia, and nowhere else (and I'd have to put a big MAYBE next to Slovakia and perhaps even Czechia).

For my part, as a Habs fan, and ethnically Hungarian... if the Habs had a Hungarian player, let's say a top-6 forward or top-pair defenseman, I'd rather see him playing in the red-white-green national colours, than see Cup 25. And that's the general attitude towards hockey in Europe - rather see the national team perform well, than the favourite club team.

North America needs to make a decision. Either say yes, we care about the development of hockey worldwide, and so we'll make some adjustments to the way we do things here in terms of league scheduling etc, or admit that no, we're selfish, we don't give a hoot about hockey elsewhere, whether it lives or dies means nothing to us so long as we get to do things our way.

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The IIHF will be on the NHLPA's backs when the new CBA will have to be negotiated since the NHLPA wants all the best players to the Olympics as well. So will the rest of European major-league hockey, as they will at least allow its players to leave if some of their players were invited. Or even shut down if they have to let go of a large number of players.

Even though the NHL did accept to let its best players leave for two weeks in the end, some countries are heavily dependent on European major-league hockey to pick their players, especially those who have an outside chance to qualify (Hungary, Denmark, for instance.)

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Nobody at the Olympics is an amateur nowadays.

Boxers, Skaters, Gymnists, Runners, Volleyball...

For my part, as a Habs fan, and ethnically Hungarian... if the Habs had a Hungarian player, let's say a top-6 forward or top-pair defenseman, I'd rather see him playing in the red-white-green national colours, than see Cup 25. And that's the general attitude towards hockey in Europe - rather see the national team perform well, than the favourite club team.

North America needs to make a decision. Either say yes, we care about the development of hockey worldwide, and so we'll make some adjustments to the way we do things here in terms of league scheduling etc, or admit that no, we're selfish, we don't give a hoot about hockey elsewhere, whether it lives or dies means nothing to us so long as we get to do things our way.

Kind of hypocritical there don't you think? On the one hand you're saying that you don't care about the Habs winning a 25th stanley cup, you just want to see the player represent your country in a 2 week tournament. Then you go and say if North America says no to Nhl players at the olympics (something they only started in 1998), that they are the ones who would be seen as selfish?

Isn't wanting a player to play for your country, while being paid by the Montreal Canadiens and the fans who pay for tickets etc, considered being selfish? As a fan of the Montreal Canadiens I'd rather see a player stick around use the 2 weeks to rest up/practice and get ready to make a push to the playoffs and win cup 25, if they were allowed to go to the Olympics that is.

Like I said I understand why a player would want to go play for his country. But, as a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, I want the players on my team to be focussed on winning the cup. Playing a hectic schedule leading up to the Olympics, then a crazy 2 week tournament and coming back isn't necessary in my opinion. If the tournament survived from 1920 to 1998 without Nhl players, I'm sure it can survive today lol. I'm just saying it shouldn't be seen as "selfish" if the Nhl decides no. If I'm the Molsons and I'm cutting Mr. Plekanec cheques worth 5Million dollars a year, if he went to the Olympics and got injured while we were in the middle of a playoff race, I would be LIVID.

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I think Zenya exaggerated a bit. If, for any reason whatsoever, the Habs had a Hungarian top-six forward, top-four D-man or goalie, that Hungarian player would probably put Cup #25 and an Olympic participation on equal footing.

I don't think Zenya or I were talking about what the player would be thinking. I was referring to the idea that a fan wanting the player to play for his/her country is selfish in its own right so why would the Nhl saying "we want our players to play Nhl hockey over Olympic hockey" be considered selfish?

If we can be selfish, why can't the Nhl and its owners be selfish? They pay players millions of dollars to play for their teams afterall.

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I still say they should stop going and just play. The NHL on it's own doesn't owe anything to the IIHF we have seen how well the IIHF stands behing a binding contract (caugh caugh) Radulov. The players are paid by us essentially and thus by the clubs owners. I say they stay home let the AHL kids go and play.

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I still say they should stop going and just play. The NHL on it's own doesn't owe anything to the IIHF we have seen how well the IIHF stands behing a binding contract (caugh caugh) Radulov. The players are paid by us essentially and thus by the clubs owners. I say they stay home let the AHL kids go and play.

If that happened there would be a lot of good players called down to the minors...

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I still say they should stop going and just play. The NHL on it's own doesn't owe anything to the IIHF we have seen how well the IIHF stands behing a binding contract (caugh caugh) Radulov. The players are paid by us essentially and thus by the clubs owners. I say they stay home let the AHL kids go and play.

that's debatable... who developped the NHL stars? no national federations, no hockey development, no NHL of the caliber we are seeing now

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If that happened there would be a lot of good players called down to the minors...

I dont think AHL teams can "call" a player down. The way the Nhl works is once a player has played a certain amount of games they have to clear waivers to go back down. An example would be many people were always saying how Price should be sent back to Hamilton. For that to happen, Price would need to clear waivers. There is no way Price would clear waivers. Therefore, many players would not make it back to the Ahl because they would be claimed off of waivers by other teams.

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I say no in all honesty the Onlympics were always and should still be about Ameture athletics.

The problem there is that the NHL not going won't make it amateurs only again. Olympic hockey hasn't been amateur only in decades. It will be like 1994, when a bunch of players in the AHL or European leagues went instead.

Anyways, I expect the NHL will go to the Olympics, but not before the NHL uses it as a bargaining chip for the next CBA (the players may give up something to go to the Olympics).

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If hockey globalization is succcessful, the player base will be more diverse for just about any major hockey league in the world. But, for globalization to succeed, we need the best players to play in the largest tribune available, the Olympics.

If the globalization of hockey depends on an event that happens once every four years, we're never going to see it in our life time. There has to be something that happens annually or even every other year. Hockey isn't soccer and a once every four years tournament isn't going help it any. If the world is only looking at hockey once every four years, it doesn't help much. How many people in China, Netherlands, India, Australia, South Africa are looking forward to the next Winter Olympics to see the big stars of the Nhl come play? Now think about how many are looking forward to Brazil 2014 to see the biggest stars in Soccer play. I understand that this is the point people are trying to make. That we need the big name players there to make people want to see hockey. But, if it happens once every four years it's not going to help because hockey isn't developed in these countries. There has to be something on its own, outside of the Olympics that makes people want to watch. Look at soccer at the Olympics and then the World Cup. What gets more attention? Why?

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If the globalization of hockey depends on an event that happens once every four years, we're never going to see it in our life time. There has to be something that happens annually or even every other year. Hockey isn't soccer and a once every four years tournament isn't going help it any. If the world is only looking at hockey once every four years, it doesn't help much. How many people in China, Netherlands, India, Australia, South Africa are looking forward to the next Winter Olympics to see the big stars of the Nhl come play? Now think about how many are looking forward to Brazil 2014 to see the biggest stars in Soccer play. I understand that this is the point people are trying to make. That we need the big name players there to make people want to see hockey. But, if it happens once every four years it's not going to help because hockey isn't developed in these countries. There has to be something on its own, outside of the Olympics that makes people want to watch. Look at soccer at the Olympics and then the World Cup. What gets more attention? Why?

because every kid anywhere on the planet can kick something somewhat round and make a game out of it ?

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because every kid anywhere on the planet can kick something somewhat round and make a game out of it ?

It's also playable in every country more or less lol. But, soccer in the Olympics doesn't get as much attention because you have so many more tournaments. The Champions League incorporates teams from England to Russia and it's a pretty big soccer tournament itself. I mean, my family and friends always get together to watch it and cheer our teams on. Hockey doesn't have an annual tournament like that. Here we have the Concacaf Champions League again now that incorporates teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean. Once again, hockey doesn't have something like that. Honestly, I don't blame the Nhl, the IIHF should be the ones out there promoting the game of Hockey more. There shouldn't be this reliance on the Nhl all the time. It's not all the Nhl's fault that hockey isn't so widely known. Honestly, imagine how wicked it would be if there was a tournament in hockey that pit the Champions of all the various hockey leagues in the world against each other in a tournament to determine the "best" team in the world. That would be crazy, people all over would get in to it and we would get better exposure to teams/players from leagues other than the Nhl. I know the timing and stuff is hard, but like anything else it is possible if they would all work together.

I just don't think that Nhl players not being at the Olympics is the be all/end all of the "globalization" of hockey.

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While I certainly understand the NHL's point in all of this, could they not get better spokesmen on the subject than Burke and Bettman?

Burke just yells at nothing and gets into arguments with nobody, borderline insulting fans in the process (the "it's easy to wave a flag" comment). And it's an important question, but do you have to be so angry that "it's not that simple"?

As for Bettman, could the NHL have picked a "face" with less charisma? And what was with the quesiton "who's been to Sochi?". When no one put up their hand, Bettman acted like he'd just proven they were all wrong or something, when this was a complete diversion (no one is arguing the location as part of why we should or shouldn't go to the Olympics).

Plain and simple, they are trying to make this a bargaining chip for the next CBA. I'm 80% sure that after a lot of huffing and puffing the NHL will be there in 2014.

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While I certainly understand the NHL's point in all of this, could they not get better spokesmen on the subject than Burke and Bettman?

Burke just yells at nothing and gets into arguments with nobody, borderline insulting fans in the process (the "it's easy to wave a flag" comment). And it's an important question, but do you have to be so angry that "it's not that simple"?

As for Bettman, could the NHL have picked a "face" with less charisma? And what was with the quesiton "who's been to Sochi?". When no one put up their hand, Bettman acted like he'd just proven they were all wrong or something, when this was a complete diversion (no one is arguing the location as part of why we should or shouldn't go to the Olympics).

Plain and simple, they are trying to make this a bargaining chip for the next CBA. I'm 80% sure that after a lot of huffing and puffing the NHL will be there in 2014.

I have to agree that this will be used as a chip in the new CBA, and that the "who's been to Sochi?" line was insulting.

It's sad that they stoop to such an empty point, just for the "effect" they knew they could generate when few people raised a hand. When he came out that, my wife ( who could care less about the debate and was only watching cuz I was) was shocked, saying, "Wow, I can't beleive he just said that, I've never been to Sochi, I'm looking forward to the next games, What a bogus point! Who is that guy?" I told her, " Well, I don't like him!" she says. I told her she was had plenty of company! :P

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I have to agree that this will be used as a chip in the new CBA, and that the "who's been to Sochi?" line was insulting.

It's sad that they stoop to such an empty point, just for the "effect" they knew they could generate when few people raised a hand. When he came out that, my wife ( who could care less about the debate and was only watching cuz I was) was shocked, saying, "Wow, I can't beleive he just said that, I've never been to Sochi, I'm looking forward to the next games, What a bogus point! Who is that guy?" I told her, " Well, I don't like him!" she says. I told her she was had plenty of company! :P

It was really just bizarre. I mean he asked it and responded as if the quesiton were "if you had a million dollar investment, who would loan it to someone else", in which case if no one put up there hands he may have a point. But "who's been to Sochi?", what did that have to do with anything? Is he suggesting it's too dangerous to send the players to or something? I'm not really sure what to take from that question.

He's arguably a good businessman (the NHL is in good shape now, although he was at the helm when the league almost ran into the ground. But the comissioner has to have some sort of connection with fans and many other people, and he is just so uncharismatic. Daly is far better in that respect.

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It was really just bizarre. I mean he asked it and responded as if the quesiton were "if you had a million dollar investment, who would loan it to someone else", in which case if no one put up there hands he may have a point. But "who's been to Sochi?", what did that have to do with anything? Is he suggesting it's too dangerous to send the players to or something? I'm not really sure what to take from that question.

He's arguably a good businessman (the NHL is in good shape now, although he was at the helm when the league almost ran into the ground. But the comissioner has to have some sort of connection with fans and many other people, and he is just so uncharismatic. Daly is far better in that respect.

Gary Betman, ...the politication that no one gave us the option to vote against.

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I dont think AHL teams can "call" a player down. The way the Nhl works is once a player has played a certain amount of games they have to clear waivers to go back down. An example would be many people were always saying how Price should be sent back to Hamilton. For that to happen, Price would need to clear waivers. There is no way Price would clear waivers. Therefore, many players would not make it back to the Ahl because they would be claimed off of waivers by other teams.

The best players on ELCs then...

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