NHLers want to be in Sochi

RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:46 PM ET

Corey Perry didn't even wait for the big Olympic hockey question to finish.

Yes, he wants NHLers at Sochi, Russia, in 2014 to defend Canada's men's hockey gold medal from Vancouver.

"The players want to be there," the Anaheim Ducks forward and former London Knight said, "but unfortunately, it's not for us to decide. Bigger people make those decisions.

"We have to find a way to be there. It has to happen."

At this week's World Hockey Summit in Toronto, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman didn't commit to sending the league's players and made it clear he and the NHL owners and GMs have several concerns that need to be addressed first before approval.

Among the bigger team worries, of course, is that players will be hurt taking part in a non-NHL competition and the mid-season tournament will take its toll on club during the Stanley Cup stretch run.

The players involved should suck it up, according to Team Canada and Los Angeles Kings defenceman Drew Doughty.

"The guys who go to the Olympics have to know they're going to be a little bit tired at the end of it," the 20-year-old Londoner said, "but that's something you have to fight through. I thought we still had a pretty good season in L.A. I don't think there's much you can do to prepare for it -- maybe make sure you rest a bit more on your off-days when you return to your team.

"But if I get the opportunity to be a part of the (Olympic) team again, no question I want to be there."

It is, Perry admitted, a physically and mentally taxing experience, but not one to be taken for granted.

"It's a grind playing in the Olympics," he said, "and it makes for a long season when you're chasing the playoffs. When you play every second day there, it's hard to get out and experience other events. I didn't really see anything else. It was a mob scene (in Vancouver). But we were focused on our goal, we achieved it and to see how the people celebrated and responded, that's what makes it all worth it and (want) to do it again."

In the gold-medal game against the U.S., Perry scored the go-ahead goal that looked like it would be the eventual winner until Zach Parise tied in the final minute. Perry didn't jump out of his skin during his post-goal celebration and there was a reason for it.

"You wanted to but you had to conserve your energy," he said with a grin. "The pace of the game was so quick."

Doughty, on the ice for Sidney Crosby's overtime winner, didn't get to take home the giant Canadian flag that he skated around the ice with after the victory. But he did make sure he left with another momento.

"They gave us this giant (three-litre) beer bottle from Molson that held seven or eight beers in it," he said, "and we all got to drink out of it afterwards. That, I wanted to take home with me."

Perry was fine with the memories.

"That's all I needed," he said. "The gold-medal game was shown again on TSN2 (Wednesday night) and Schrempie (Rob Schremp) and I watched it. It's the first time I've seen it."

And it'll never get old -- whether or not he gets to go to Russia.


Videos

Photos