It's not a surprise, but we will get to see NHL players in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
While the news is not surprising, it is great news. Olympic hockey is one of the most entertaining sporting events in the world. Sure, Germany, Austria and a few other teams are not that exciting, but watching hockey super powers like Sweden, USA, Russia and Canada duking it out for world dominance is incredible.
I would argue it rivals the Stanley Cup Playoffs in terms of excitement. The Olympics is hockey at its finest. There are no goons on the ice, whose only roles are to fight and defend the team's stars. At the Olympics, every player on the top teams is a star. The ice is wider, so there is more space for these amazing players to play the game with speed and skill.
What would you rather see: the game played at a fast pace with crisp passing and an environment that allows the best players in the world to truly illustrate their talent, or the ice being clogged up by guys that can hardly skate at the pro level and who slow the game down?
Obviously this kind of hockey could not be established in the NHL. There just are not enough great players in the world to field 30 competitive teams. We need the Tanner Glasses, Steve Otts and similar players in order to fill the teams.
Of course, there is also the added bonus of no NHL All-Star Game, which is a complete waste of time where players don't try. When you think about it, the Olympics is hockey's real all-star event. You have the best players in the world, not just the NHL, busting their asses in order to bring gold to their country.
Here is a link to the Olympic schedule. USA and Russia are in the same group. Get pumped!