With the NHL officially out on the Winter Olympic games in Beijing this February, there’s clearly a lot of disappointment among the elite NHL players, and several Boston Bruins, who were looking forward to taking part in the world’s greatest hockey tournament.
There was no avoiding it, of course, as COVID outbreaks across the league ahead of the holidays and over 100 game postponements took precedence as the NHL attempts to reclaim a full season after each of the last two regular seasons were dramatically impacted by COVID-19 stoppages. But Boston Bruins players like Charlie McAvoy and David Pastrnak were most definitely bummed about the development. Instead of each of them playing in their first Olympic games, they will be sticking around Boston and suiting up for NHL makeup games after they had four games postponed just ahead of the league’s Christmas break.
“I’m obviously frustrated, sad…you know? For European players growing up as a kid, that’s your dream to make it. It’s pretty sad that this is technically the second Olympics in a row that you’re missing as a player,” said Pastrnak, who was expected to reunite with David Krejci at the Olympic games. “It’s obviously nobody’s fault and I’m not blaming anybody, but this is just the world that we’re living in and it’s unfortunate. I understand the situation we’re in, and the world is in. I still have a hope that one day I will participate in an Olympics.”
The good news for Pasta? His mom and brother were able to travel to Boston for the holidays for the first time in several years to at least put a smile on the right winger’s face.
🎥 David Pastrnak on spending the Christmas break with his family: “All we’ve been doing is cooking food and play some family games…they haven’t been here for two and a half years…I’m really happy they’re here.” pic.twitter.com/7A7mYiN89j
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 23, 2021
For McAvoy, it would also have been the first Olympic experience with a Team USA group having high hopes. The 24-year-old will undoubtedly have other chances given his age and his standing within the NHL as one of the league’s best young defensemen, but it didn’t take away from the bitter disappointment.
“I really think I was going to enjoy every second of it. I’ve dreamed of that for a long time, so it’s disappointing…it stinks, but hopefully in 2026 we’ll have another opportunity,” said McAvoy.
More disappointed than Pastrnak and McAvoy would have to be a guy like Brad Marchand, who will be missing out on a possible first Olympic chance for Team Canada as a 33-year-old winger at the top of his game. The expectation was that Patrice Bergeron and Marchand would be linemates at the Olympics, and that they might have even been paired with Sidney Crosby as an Olympic line with Team Canada once again the favorites.
Unlike McAvoy and Pastrnak as players 25 years old or younger, Marchand probably won’t be in consideration for an elite group like Team Canada’s Olympic entry as a 37-year-old left wing four years from now even if he’s still an NHL player. As Pastrnak said, it’s really nobody’s fault since it’s the strange, oft-disappointing world full of circumstances we’re all living in right now due to a COVID outbreak that has rolled through the entire globe.
But the NHL world that’s gotten used to disappointment and big time adjustments due to COVID over the last few years now has to deal with another one as the Winter Olympics have been scrapped a couple of months from now.