PHILADELPHIA — Joe Sakic played in three Olympiads for Team Canada and was the most valuable player in the Canadians' gold-medal showing at the Salt Lake City Games in 2002.

So he is a good person to ask: Does an Olympic player have the advantage in competition when NHL play resumes? Or is it a disadvantage from being mentally and physically tired?

“It's better to play,” Sakic said between periods of Thursday's Avalanche loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. “I think it keeps you sharper, and the level of hockey you're playing that whole time, that can make you better.”

The Avs' executive vice president of hockey operations was injured in one Olympiad, suffering a knee injury in 1998 at Nagano. Otherwise, he played in 16 games in the Olympics for Canada, posting 13 points. He might have been named to the 2010 team in Vancouver, British Columbia — the city where he was born — but he retired the year before partially because of injuries.

“It's a great experience,” Sakic said. “I have great memories.”

The NHL will break for the Olympics starting after Saturday night's games.