Dear Mr. Bettman,
I have read numerous articles regarding the plans for the 2014 Olympic games. I understand that you are toying with the idea of not letting the NHL players participate, and going back to the old format used prior to the 1998 Nagano Olympics.
I plead that you don't do this. The 2010 Olympics was better than any all-star game that could be put together. The entire world was watching. There was a fresh interest born in hockey. People were starting to grow bored of watching a skills competition every year between the Eastern and Western conference. The best players from each team in the conference playing together, in basically laid back skills game with little physical contact. In all honesty, the NHL All-Star game was boring.
Then, look at this years Olympics. The best players in the world, competing against each other. It was different, which is what was needed for the NHL. The world got to watch Evgeni Malkin play against Sydney Crosby, Zach Parise vs Martin Broduer, and many other battles that fans wouldn't normally wouldn't see. Plus, there was a purpose to the games. Players weren't just trying to show off their skills, they were playing for bragging rights. There was heart behind it, and meaning. It was real hockey, for the entire world to watch.
These games have inspired people to watch hockey again. There was huge interest in the games, regardless of who played. People are now wanting to watch Jerome Iginla with the Flames, and Ryan Miller with the Buffalo Sabres. These games couldn't have come up at a better time. Hockey now has a huge boost, and just in time for the 2010 playoffs. The NHLers needed to perform, and they shined on the Vancouver ice.
So before you consider eliminating the NHL players from the Olympics, look back at the 2010 games. Keep in mind what they did for the sport of hockey these past two weeks. Keep the NHL players involved in the winter Olympics. I guarantee, they will not disappoint, regardless of their nationality.
A Hockey Fan