Oliver Bjorkstrand Has Great Weekend As Denmark Qualifies For First Olympic Games

By Jacob Nitzberg on August 30, 2021 at 9:15 am
Oliver Bjorkstrand calls for the puck.
Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images

Congratulations are in order for the Blue Jackets' Oliver Bjorkstrand.

Over the weekend, Bjorkstrand was instrumental in helping Denmark secure their first-ever berth in the Olympic Games, as the Danes defeated Slovenia (4-3), South Korea (11-1), and Norway (2-0).

Bjorkstrand tallied 3-2-5 in those three games, including a hat trick in just five minutes and 24 seconds during Denmark's win over South Korea. He also notched two assists against Slovenia.

The Danish sniper finished with the fourth-most points in Denmark's Group F. His teammate Nikolaj Ehlers of the Winnipeg Jets finished with 5-4-9, and Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings was tied for second with 1-6-7. Bjorkstrand's other teammate, defenseman Markus Lauridsen, also tallied seven points with 0-7-7.

In recent days, it's been looking like the NHL allowing players to participate in the Olympics is likely. ESPN's Emily Kaplan reported yesterday that "sources (she's) talked to suggest an agreement between NHL, NHLPA, IIHF & Olympic committee is close, (and it's) just down to some final items."

The NHL permitted its players to participate in five straight Olympics from 1998-2014, but NHL players did not go in 2018. According to Bettman, the majority of teams did not want players to participate, due to the 2.5-week interruption in the NHL schedule that the Olympics cause. 

"I think that's really attractive just because it's growing the game and we get to promote our game," three-time Stanley Cup winner Justin Williams said. "The best players are out there. I just think it's great for the game of hockey to be able to showcase the best players, guys you don't normally see as teammates. It's just so unique. The Olympics are a special event in itself, but having NHL players there, you love to see the best on best, and that's pretty, pretty special."

Hopefully, the NHL will allow players to go. The Blue Jackets could have many of their players representing their countries on the highest stage, and it would be several different countries, at that.