Skip to main content
Welcome to
super saver spring
offer ends april 20
save over $140
save over 85%
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks
Welcome to
super saver spring
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Toronto Maple Leafs Carter Ashton(37), David Clarkson(71), Morgan Rielly(44) and Trevor Smith(23) during practice at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on December 04, 2013.

Deborah Baic

So, the NHL is going on a hiatus for the Olympics, which for the league begins Feb. 9 and ends on the night of Feb. 25 with a game in Buffalo.

It stands to reason that it's easy enough to determine what happens to players in that period: Those playing at the Olympics head to Sochi and those who don't get a two-week vacation in the middle of their season.

But it's not quite that simple.

Story continues below advertisement

For players not going to the Games, the break does in fact start on the ninth, but it actually ends on the 19th at 2 p.m. local time, which is when teams will call them back to practice. Instead of a two-and-a-half week break, they really only get 10 days away, and some will spend that time in the AHL.

The concern, from the teams' perspective, is that too long a break would mean players have long enough to fly to a beach somewhere and get more than a little out of game shape.

"We come back to practice, and it'll basically be a training camp all over again," Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said on Tuesday. "We'll try and advise our players on what they should do over the break, but I know sometimes those things fall on deaf ears."

There are also all kinds of complications that the break brings for the league, from a trade freeze to how the salary cap is affected and who exactly can play in the minors during this time frame.

Here's a rundown of some of the more interesting aspects of the break:

- The trade freeze runs from 3 p.m. ET on Friday, Feb. 7, until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23, the day of the gold medal game in Sochi.

- As Elliotte Friedman pointed out earlier in the day, players are paid throughout the break, so there could be some cap-related manoeuvrings prior to the freeze. One NHL executive noted that one bizarre loophole with the break is some entry level players can be "loaned" (i.e. demoted to the minors) for cap reasons even if they aren't eligible to play in the AHL, making it merely a paper transaction. (NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said that was a simplified way of looking at what's possible during the break but "not categorically inaccurate.")

Story continues below advertisement

- Why can't some players play in the AHL? Well the league and the NHLPA negotiated a big, long list of stipulations over which players get an Olympic break and which ones don't, a string of legalese that's not included in the CBA. Basically, players who don't require waivers to be sent down still get the time off if (a) they were on an NHL roster (or injured reserve) for at least 75 per cent of the days between Oct. 1 and Jan. 24, including being in the NHL on Jan. 24 or later or (b) they participated in 16 of the last 20 games before the break.

- Regardless of their age or contract status, players who fall into those two groups are deemed to have earned an Olympic break and can't "practice, participate or play" with their AHL team at any point during the 10-day break.

- If you want to put a veteran player on waivers, however, in order to play them in the minors during the break, that's fair game. That's a pretty cold move if it's a player that's been on your roster all season and planning for some time off, but it would save some cap space.

- There are no conditioning assignments allowed until Feb. 19, so players like recovering Leafs centre Dave Bolland can't go down to the AHL until their peers are also back at practice.

What all that means is that come next weekend there could be a lot of activity with players being traded, waived or demoted to get ready for the Olympics. It'll be interesting to see which teams take advantage of some of the workarounds that appear to be available to them.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies