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San Jose Sharks

2010 Olympics A Help Or Hinderance To The San Jose Sharks?

San Jose SharksFor those of you who may not remember there was excitement in the United States surrounding the 1984 Summer Olympic Games. A rule change allowed countries to send professionals to compete for Olympic gold in basketball. Obviously the United States has a huge advantage over other countries when it comes to basketball. The ‘Dream Team’, as it was called, was comprised of an all-star roster which easily won gold for the United States. Four years later the United States sent ‘Dream Team II’. The result? Bronze.

After failing to achieve gold in a sport where everyone agrees the United States has an unfair advantage, a theory arose. That theory was that, if you wanted to come as close to a guarantee as is possible in sports, the smarter thing to do would be to instead send one NBA team to the Olympics. An NBA team would have an advantage over an All-Star team because that team would have the benefit of having played together. The players would know each other’s tendencies, understand their system and would know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It would be a true test of the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Now we turn to Olympic hockey. The big problem with sending NHL players to the Olympic games is the disruption to the NHL season. How will the 2-week Olympic break affect team cohesion? Will teams need some time to get back into a rhythm after the break, how long will that ‘resyncing’ take and will some teams recover faster than others?

Now take the San Jose Sharks. Canada has selected the top line for the Sharks, Dany Heatley-Joe Thornton-Patrick Marleau, to represent their country at this year’s games. Canada has also selected Mike Babcock, coach of the Detroit Red Wings, to coach Team Canada. The question becomes: will Babcock do right by his country or by his team?

If Babcock keep the Sharks together the advantage to Team Canada could be huge - that line has the potential to do in hockey what Dream Team II could not do in basketball. But keeping that line together could also mean that, when they return to the NHL, Thornton, Heatley and Marleau may not suffer from too much ‘rust’. No rust could give the Sharks the advantage after the season restart. If Babcock breaks up that line, Team Canada may take a slight competitive hit but could set back the Sharks when the season resumes.

Is any of this relevant, or is hockey too different from basketball?

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3 comments for “2010 Olympics A Help Or Hinderance To The San Jose Sharks?”

  1. i think babcock will keep that line together as that will bring the best results and would give the team more chance of winning gold, which, from his personal viewpoint, would look good for him. the sharks have quite a few players in the olympics don’t they? it could be harmful or it could be good, depends how you look at it. those playing in the olympics might be more tired than those not involved but might not suffer from the time away from the game. the big thing is any injuries sustained, but i think having players from your team at the olympics is better than not.

    Posted by colonelbagpussNo Gravatar | January 6, 2010, 4:21 pm
  2. Sharksfan - I have very similar concerns with the Penguins. They have a total of 5 players which will be gone to play in the Olympics(Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury, Brooks Orpik, Evgeni Malkin, and Sergei Gonchar).

    I am definitely curious to see how this break will affect this team. Honestly, I can only see negatives due to the fact that these players are going to be pumped for the Olympics and pour their heart and soul into it. This might make it even more difficult for them to continue competitive play when they return.

    Time will tell though.

    Posted by pittpenNo Gravatar | January 6, 2010, 5:34 pm
  3. The Yotes have players that will be gone as well including our star goalie Bryzgalov. Judging from what happened to us after the All Star Break last year I am really nervous about loss of momentum.

    Posted by PuckGalNo Gravatar | January 7, 2010, 4:26 pm

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