Its the news we all have been waiting for.
This morning, the NHL finalized an agreement to send their players to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. The Olympics will take place from February 7th-February 23rd. Here is part of the release from the NHL:
NEW YORK/TORONTO -- The National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) announced today that an agreement has been reached with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to secure participation of NHL players in the upcoming 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
NHL players will be available to the 12 participating IIHF Member National Associations for the men's Olympic ice hockey tournament (February 12-23, 2014). This will mark the fifth consecutive time dating back to Nagano 1998 that NHL players have participated in the Olympics. More than 120 NHL players are expected to compete for their respective nations in Sochi.
"The National Hockey League features the most international player population in professional sports, and our outstanding athletes take tremendous pride in representing their homelands on the global stage," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "The decision to participate in the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi was in many ways a difficult one, but one that we know will be well received by our Players and, most importantly, by the vast majority of our fans and sports fans everywhere."
"The Players are very pleased that an agreement has been reached that will allow the world's best hockey players to compete at the Winter Games in February," said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director. "Having the opportunity to wear their nation's sweater in Sochi is something the players look forward to."
The NHL will break from the 2013-14 regular season schedule on February 9 and return to play February 26 to allow for participation in the Games.
Wild players expected to participated in the games are: Mikko Koivu (Finland), Zach Parise (USA), Ryan Suter (USA), Jonas Brodin (Sweden), Jason Pominville (USA/Canada), Niklas Backstrom (Finland), Mikael Granlund (Finland), and Nino Niederreiter (Switzerland).
Shortly following the announcement of the Winter Olympics, the NHL released its schedule for the 2013-14 season. The Wild are opening up the season with a four game homestand, including the season opener on October 3rd vs Los Angeles.
You can find the whole schedule here.
The Wild play every team at least twice now in the new schedule format, and play their new "Central Division" opponents six times (three at home, three on the road). The team has a unfavorable April schedule, taking on the Blackhawks, Penguins, Bruins, Blues, and Predators. Considering the way the team finished this season, that is definitely a cause for concern.
Thoughts on today's announcements Hockey Wilderness?