It’s something that is going to be discussed a good amount after Eric Staal‘s injury at the World Championships; how important is the tournament that teams will send players there with the risk of a major injury?
The Carolina Hurricanes were lucky enough that Staal did not need injury, but what if he did and would miss a part of the season? Staal is arguably the most important player on the Canes team and without him, the team would lack offense and leadership.
Obviously the tournament gives a chance for players to represent their country, which is understandable for why a player would want to participate. But the Worlds is not as big as the Olympics, which Staal has represented Canada in 2010.
Representing his country was probably not a huge issue for Staal in deciding to participate in the tournament, it was most likely because the Olympics are in February and Staal wanted to leave a good impression by playing in
It’s understandable why a player like Jay Harrison, who will never represent Canada in the Olympics, wants to play in the World Championships, but for Eric Staal, who has played in the Olympics already, and has a good chance of doing so again in 2014, the tournament should not be that important.
The tournament also gets little recognition in the U.S. besides the die hard hockey fans that follow it. The first time the games were even broadcasted in the states was two years ago by the NBC Sports Network, which was then Versus.
Ultimately, it is the player’s and team’s decision if they want to play in the tournament and GM Jim Rutherford said he will continue to allow his players to compete in the tournament. But hopefully the players will realize there is a risk in playing in the tournament.