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At the fore of Bettman’s concerns, the NHL wants compensation in the form of marketing and sponsorship rights for having to shut down the league for 2 1/2 weeks while players represent their counties at the Games. That, and assurances the IOC will backtrack on its decision to not pay for player injury insurance and transportation costs.
The NHL, by and large, is divided on the broad issue of not sending players to the Olympics for the first time since 1994.
Its biggest stars, including Alex Ovechkin and Erik Karlsson, have been vocal in wanting to participate, with their respective owners taking varying stances.
Colin White deserves some credit, too, since his goal in the third period tied the game 4-all and capped a stretch of four goals in 5 minutes, 15 seconds, rallying Team USA back from a two-goal deficit or the second time in the game. Everyone can thank White for the exhaustive, enthralling back-and-forth overtime that followed.
It would have went down as a memorable tournament for the Americans regardless of the outcome, especially in the wake of the stinker their men’s national team counterparts put forth in the World Cup of Hockey earlier this year.
For one, the Team USA finished 7-0 in the tournament for the first time ever. And its semifinal win over Russia was the first ever against the nation in a medal round at the World Juniors. Not to mention the U.S., which beat Canada in group play, scored a sweep of their rivals for the first time in history.
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The U.S. is now 3-1 all time against Canada in World Junior gold medal games.