If the NHL were a train, then it would not be making a stop for the Olympics.
In the past, we’ve seen the league take 2 weeks off in order for guys to play in the winter Olympics and represent their home countries. This year? Nope. Team USA is going with a 23-man squad that doesn’t actually feature any NHL players. But it’s pretty cool for some younger guys who probably wouldn’t have gotten a shot otherwise.
Take Bruins prospect Ryan Donato for example. Actually, he’s really the only one I care about, so he’s my only example. But yeah, he’s a Harvard hockey player and Scituate, Mass. (I could walk to Scituate from where I’m writing this right now) native. He made the team.
The 21-year-old junior was the Bruins 56th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft and this season, he has been sharp for the Crimson. In 12 games, he has accrued 20 points (12 goals, 8 assists) which means he has the eighth most goals scored in the country. He also has 60 points in 48 games dating back to the start of last season, according to WEEI.
Oh, and Donato is Ted Donato’s son. That’s the former Boston Bruin who currently serves as Harvard’s head hockey (sorry for the alliteration) coach. Big Donato was on the 1992 Team USA Olympic Hockey team, so that’s one of those “like father like son” or apple and tree cliche things.
Here’s what we can speculate from this: if he’s ready to play in the Olympics, he’s probably ready to play pro hockey next season. Hard to imagine playing in the Olympics and then coming back to school for some liberal arts class that won’t help him become an NHL player. I hated it when I didn’t even have any job prospects. Imagine knowing you could compete against some of the best hockey players in the world and then having to go back to class. Talk about a buzzkill.