While it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the NHL and the NHLPA would back out of the Olympics due to concerns about COVID-19, postponements, and, of course, money, that doesn't mean everyone was happy about the decision.
Count Brad Marchand among that group, as he took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the matter this afternoon:
Marchand's point is a valid one: the league and the PA quickly agreed on taxi squads, which are designed in part to help games go on when teams have guys out due to COVID-19 protocol.
When it came to the Olympics, however, it seems like both sides agreed to just pull the plug.
The difference between a taxi squad now and during the Olympics is that (no offense to the guys left behind) the league would be carrying on without its best players, diluting the product.
The NHL would have a PR nightmare on its hands trying to promote a (for example) February Bruins vs. Capitals game without Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Charlie McAvoy, Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom...you get the point.
(Not to mention charging full price for a ticket to what essentially becomes an AHL game.)
Still, you have to wonder how much feedback the PA solicited from its members prior to agreeing with the league and pulling the plug.
Taylor Hall, for one, wonders if the league wasn't looking for an excuse:
Taylor Hall echoing Brad Marchand’s previous comments on Beijing: “Who knows if the league even wanted us to go.”— Matt Porter (@mattyports) December 28, 2021
It's a tough spot, as many players rank playing for gold in the Olympics right up there with playing for the Stanley Cup, and for some, this was likely their last shot.
It's a situation that has always put the league and the players at odds, and it's clear that one side was going to win and one was going to lose.
In this case, in the eyes of Marchand and some of his fellow players, it's the players who are bearing the brunt of the decision.