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NHL players are off to Sochi

by Chris Lund / Ottawa Senators

The NHL and NHLPA have reached an agreement with the IIHF and IOC that will send NHL players to Sochi for the 2014 Olympic games this winter. The appearance is the fifth consecutive time (beginning in Nagano 1998) that NHLers will take part in the Olympic games.

As a result, the NHL will take a 17 day break from the season (February 9 to 26) with the Olympics going on.

From the official story...

"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."

Sens fans can expect to see plenty of familiar names in Olympic lineup speculation. Players like Jason Spezza (Canada), Craig Anderson, Bobby Ryan (USA), Milan Michalek (Czech Republic), Erik Karlsson, Mika Zibanejad, and Robin Lehner (Sweden) could all easily figure in their nation's plans going forward with strong showings to begin the 2013-14 season.

With this announcement out of the way, the NHL schedule should soon follow. Stay tuned!

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