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The question comes around once every 4 years, but I am raising it now, mainly because it's international week, and there's not much else to talk about, and because I feel strongly abut it.

The question is Should NHL players participate in the Olympics? As you will see in the next few days, I am unabashedly in favor of raising the NHL's profile throughout the world. the more people around the globe that are aware of the NHL, and able to watch and follow the league the better it is for everyone involved.

So should the Olympics use NHL players? Absolutely. The use of NHLers is good for the league, sport, and even the players.

It's good for the league in a number of ways. First domestically, every 4 years hockey becomes the number one attraction in homes, as the Olympics still outshine everyone. Maybe it's not a big deal, but the NHL players playing for whatever country have the opportunity to gain some buzz and recognition separate from the NHL. This allows the NHL to get free advertising in every country.

On the International level it's another reminder of how good the sport is. People can fall into a rut, and sometimes need to be jolted from that rut. For example the average American sports fan follows Football, Baseball and Basketball, in that order. Well once every four years the NHL has an opportunity to break that rut (which they desperately need to do right now) with the Olympics and good old fashioned nationalistic pride if it's marketed correctly (one of the NHL's fatal flaws).

It's good for the sport because many international players, don't root for the team, but for the player. When the Avs were winning cups, Swedes weren't happ because the Avs won, they were happy Peter Forsberg won, Germans celebrated Uwe Krupp, etc. That kind of nationalistic pride boils over at the Olympic and up's the profile of all those players for another two weeks. Hopefully that carries over to the season and all those fanatic nationalistic fans buy their "Forsberg", "Ovechkin", and hell even "Lidstrom" jerseys and paraphernalia. It increases revenue and is free advertising.

One of the thing that every pro player of every sport says today is that "Playing ____ is fun, but it's more of a business than it was when I was younger". It's just the way it is, because you don't go out and play, but have to worry about contracts and trades etc etc. Well guess what the Olympics changes all that. For two weeks they get to be just players again, oh yeah for their Country. 2 weeks of bonding with your teammates not worrying about contracts, rabid local media, hotel reservations etc. From all accounts the Olympics is a big 2 week hockey and party. Sign me up!

Well and if nostalgia and fun isn't your game, there are potential financial benefits as well. By representing your country you immediately become a national name, not just a local one. Your sponsorship opportunities increase, as well as your national profile. Good play can even lead to labels such as "Clutch" and "a gamer". It could help in your next contract, as your hockey profile goes up.

Oh how else can it help.. two words: Puck Bunnies!

I understand some of the complaints, you're adding games to the elite players schedules. Owners are risking their investments (players) for no direct benefit. IT can be difficult on the players, they can get injured.

Overall, I think it's good for the game though.

I understand some of the owner's complaints, that they are risking an investment (their players) with no direct benefit for themselves.