In less than two weeks, the NHL will shut down for its Olympic vacation while its best players go for gold in Sochi, Russia. Fans are eager to see how the players and nations perform at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, but have also begun to wonder how their favourite teams will fare when the race to the playoffs resumes on Feb. 25.
For us, sometimes a hangover means we don't bring our best work to the office after having a little too much fun the night before. For NHL players, there's a risk of emotional letdown after the bright glare of the Olympic spotlight as well as the possibility of injury or exhaustion from a two-week tournament played at a very high level.
A few teams in the playoff hunt will be able to rest most of their group during the Olympic break—the Colorado Avalanche, for instance, are sending just four athletes while the Boston Bruins will send five. As you might expect, most of the world's top players suit up for the NHL's top teams.
Here's a look at eight NHL clubs in the thick of the battle who will likely feel the strongest adverse impact from the Olympics once play resumes.
As a point of reference, these are the types of hangovers that each team could experience:
- One Alarm: A good night's sleep should set things right
- Two Alarm: Need a couple of aspirin and a gallon of water
- Three Alarm: Craving greasy food, zero concentration
- Four Alarm: Nausea, shakes, can't handle food or fluids
- Five Alarm: Bedspins