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Published August 24, 2009
RING TOSS: In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont wrote the NHL "feels it loses marketing momentum and its place in a very crowded professional sports marketplace with the two-week hiatus" for the Olympics. Maple Leafs President & GM Brian Burke, who is also serving as GM of the U.S. Olympic team, said, "There is no other business in the world that shuts their doors for 2 1/2 weeks in the middle of the season. I mean, we have gotten very little benefit from this tournament when it is not in North America. ... I wouldn't be surprised if this is the last Olympics that NHL players participate in." But NHLPA Exec Dir Paul Kelly said, "The players overwhelmingly support continued participation in the Olympics, regardless of issues about time zones, locations, and whether it is in Russia or someplace else." Kelly: "I think the league is going to wait and see what kind of experience we have in Vancouver, what kind of buzz is created around the sport. If you have a tremendous tournament, a great gold medal game, if your (TV) ratings are off the chart, if you create an international buzz about the sport, then I think it changes the dialogue. I think the NHL has to take a fresh look at this question" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/23).