With the rosters of all 12 participating countries now submitted, we have a better idea of what the tournament will look like. We also get some idea of what strains will be on the teams competing with the Ottawa Senators for a playoff spot once those involved return. As it turns out, Ottawa will have 2 representatives at the Olympics (Erik Karlsson and Milan Michalek), the fewest of all teams currently involved in the playoff race in the Eastern Conference.
I have included all teams above Ottawa in the Atlantic Division as well as the clubs in the Metropolitan division (excluding run-away leader Pittsburgh) that are within striking distance of the Senators in the wild card race.
So, if things continue to progress as they have been, and Ottawa can remain within a couple of points of a playoff spot (or hopefully in one), they should be more rested energized when the league re-commences play after the medals are handed out than most of the teams they are battling with.
For teams like New Jersey and Detroit, they are sending a lot of key players who are also older. Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias, Daniel Alfredsson are all on the down side of their thirties or already in their 40’s, and that travel will put a lot of strain on them. They could be given a rest upon their return, but if they are fighting for playoff spots down the stretch they can’t really afford to.
While some players might feel slighted at being denied the opportunity to represent their country, the Senators should look at it as an opportunity to get a leg up on the competition when play starts back up.