We don't yet know for certain whether NHL players will make the jump over the pond for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China but if they do we know that Team Canada will be bringing reinforcements behind the bench.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported earlier today that teams will be required to bring additional coaching staff with them, presumably in case members of their main coaching staff are forced into quarantine.
In Canada's case, their coaching staff consists of head coach Jon Cooper and assistant coaches Barry Trotz, Peter DeBoer and Bruce Cassidy. Joining them on the "B Team" will be unemployed NHL coaches Claude Julien and Bruce Boudreau, both of whom haven't coached in months at this point.
Check it out:
Seems like odd choices to me. What about good, employed Canadian coaches like Rod Brind'Amour, Jared Bednar or Dean Evason? Or if you wanted to go the more experienced route you have a ton of options with guys like Darryl Sutter, Gerard Gallant, Dave Tippett, Alain Vigneault, Craig Berube and Paul Maurice. Why go with two guys who are clearly beyond their best before dates?
The NHL's participation in the Olympics, of course, is somewhat up in the air after concerns about COVID-19 outbreaks in the host city and about China's spotty human rights track record.
"From my experience with this stuff, I try not to follow it too day-to-day," two time gold medal Olympian Sidney Crosby told reporters over the weekend in Toronto. "It's a lot of different storylines, and a lot of different things could happen."
The NHL has until January 9th, 2022 to pull out of the games. Nations across the world are considering an outright boycott of the games or, at the very least, a diplomatic boycott that would see athletes attend, but not dignitaries.
American President Joe Biden has already indicated that his country may issue a diplomatic boycott, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted to reporters that he has made the same considerations.
"There are an awful lot of athletes in Canada and around the world who have been training, focused on this very, very much," Trudeau said. "We're looking for a way to both be able to see them show their capacities and fulfil all the hard work that they've done for many years, while continuing to demonstrate our real concerns with the way the Chinese government has behaved."