Thumbs-up for Olympics from Flyers who played

Posted: February 28, 2014

THERE WILL BE plenty of discussion whether NHL players will participate in the 2018 Olympics in South Korea.

Most fans like the idea, except maybe for those who had Islanders star John Tavares on their fantasy teams.

Many NHL owners could do without it because it cuts into their business. TV executives would cry without the world's best on such an elaborate stage.

The players generally like participating in the Olympics, even with the threat of injury (like Tavares' ripping up his knee) and the minor chaos it causes to the routine of an NHL schedule.

A prime example of the latter was Kimmo Timonen not playing for the Flyers last night against San Jose partly to give his 38-year-old body a chance to readjust to the Eastern time zone and partly because the Flyers have three consecutive intradivisional games that are more crucial to their playoff chase.

"It's good for the game and it's pretty special when you go and play for your country," said Flyers coach Craig Berube. "I know there are things that aren't good about it, but overall the league benefits from it."

Flyers defenseman Mark Streit competed in his fourth Olympics for Switzerland, leading the ninth-place Swiss in ice time.

"My family came over and had the time of their lives," Streit said. "There were so many bad reports and threats and stuff like that, that you can get caught up [in fear]. But once it started, there was no more talk about that. I thought it was great."

Switzerland had eight NHL players. Streit was the Swiss' captain for the 2006 Games. He will be 40 the next time Olympic rosters are determined.

"There's always a lot of talk, but players love going and I think the fans appreciate it as well," he said. "My gut is that we will be back."

On Twitter: @EdBarkowitz

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