I want USA to win gold. I have been wanting this for 30 years and 1 day. Unfortunately I have been wanting the Flyers to win the Cup for 35, but I digress.....
Not only do I want this but I need this I need USA to win Gold I need Russia to win silver and I need Canada to get be very disappointed.
Bettman will not have a pot to piss in His hopes of using the Olympic participation as a bargaining chip in the next CBA will go out the window
For a short period of time All of america will pretend that hockey is really important.
Bettman could not survive the opposition he would face if he tried to deny the defending gold medal USA team from going to Russia. Its a story the american media would actually pick up on and non Hockey fans would embrace it. He would be obliterated if he tried and he knows it.
However supposes he did end NHL participation in the Olympics. Suppose he act on behalf of the owners and did demand that the NHL is not a sport, but a business and the bottom dollar comes first.
What happens next?
All the Russian Players will give him the finger and play anyway. (THis we already know)
The US press and country pride would support the Defending Gold Metal team. Massive public outcry, would support the US players in defying Bettman. (MAJOR EMPHASIS ON "THE DEFENDING GOLD MEDAL" PART)
That leaves pretty poster boy Sid and the Canadian players. Cindy gets his milk money by being Bettmins "face of the NHL" and doing what the Man says However, Canadian countryman would demand that canadian hockey goes to Russia equipped with NHL players. Especially if USA is doing it. Crosby will have no choice but to defy the NHL He will be forced to be vocal about it as well
This scenario is way too risky for Bettman to play around with and the Players union knows this. That is exactly why he would not use it against the players in the next CBA
Bettman is a Business first, integrity of the sport second kind of Commissioner, but he is not stupid He hold the advantage now but it will continue to slip away with every goal that USA scores.
If Canada wins Gold, Bettman keeps his advantage.
He could keep players from the 2014 games and the Owners will be happy (and just a tiny bit richer).
People (players/fans alike) would be disappointed but they will find no support and things will go on.
Canadian fans would confront their pride by saying if Russia wins gold in 2014, it is only b/c they didnt go, and that would be enough to pacify them.
US media would never report it and no one but the fans will be disappointed.
If some Russians superstars did defy the league and got suspended by the NHL for participating in the 2014 games and fat, bald, ugly ass suit commentators who hate russians anyway will be smiling.
The suspended Russians would go play in the KHL, get paid a lot, become national heros, and would live happily ever after
The NHL would still have better hockey than the KHL and pretend that Crosby is the best player in the world
The fans and the players lose but the game goes on Bettman faces some backlash but nothing he hasn't faced before.
He knows this and the players union knows this and thats why this scenario is his advantage in the CBA Lets take it away from him
GO USA SAVE HOCKEY WIN THE GOLD!