Originally posted on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 8/17/13
Are Medals Relevant? Can Olympic participation be linked to NHL success in Olympic years? Is there a positive correlation, a negative correlation, or no relationship at all? The question has always interested me. Perhaps participation in the Olympics wears a player out before the Stanley cup playoffs. One of the issues related to undertaking this question is that not all Olympians are created equal. Sidney Crosby is not on the same level as Maxim Afinogenov, just as Jonas Gustavsson is no Roberto Luongo. For this reason we shall differentiate between “star” Olympians and “non-star” Olympians. Unsurprisingly, there are more “star” Olympians on playoff teams. Individual performance Let’s take a year-by-year look at the Conn Smythe trophy, starting in 2002. The 2002 Olympics took place in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Conn Smythe winner in the 2002 Stanley cup playoffs was Nicklas Lidstrom. Lidstrom was also a key player for team Sweden in the 2002 Olympics and played well despite in a dis...
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