Seen a lot of talk about the level of play and players in the Olympics and I can understand the disappointment for the NHL's decision of not letting the NHL players go, however people who can't enjoy this tournament are NHL fans not hockey fans. It is always funny to see how (mostly NA fans) belittle the leagues and guys playing in Europe or even AHL, you guys realize that it's not like the talent level just suddenly drops drastically after those what, 700-800 guys that play in the NHL? In fact the top players in Europe are way more skilled and classically speaking better in hockey than most of the third or fourth liners in the NHL. I'm of course most familiar with the Finnish players and I can quite easily make the claim that a team full of NHL grinders the level of, say, Miikka Salomäki, Markus Hännikäinen or Iiro Pakarinen would get completely butchered by good teams in European leagues, let alone Olympic teams. This is something a lot of you guys fail to grasp on.
These guys in Europe play professionally, train professionally and earn good money doing so. Some act like the European leagues are the level of NA beer leagues, while the truth is 99% of even the guys that have played minor junior hockey would've never had a chance to play professionally in the European top leagues, no matter how hard they tried. These guys are really good and talented. Some of you guys could use the IIHF World Championships as an eye opener. These guys playing in the European pro leagues compete neck to neck with NHL guys year after year and while you can disrespect the players and their will to win every game by saying that the players from Canada and USA don't care for the WHC, I can assure you the European players do care, yet the KHL, SHL, Finnish league players etc. compete just as hard and play just as well and sometimes even better than their NHL counterparts.
And just to clarify, the NHL is obviously the best league in the world (as they have most money to spend) but the European guys and NA players playing in the Olympics are pro players and by calling them scrubs or beer leaguers is insulting and ignorant and only goes to show that you know very little of the game outside the NHL.