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No Olympic decision this week, says NHL deputy commish Daly

Feb 14, 2013, 4:58 PM EDT

Ice Hockey - Men's Gold Medal Game - Day 17 Getty Images

Hockey fans won’t know this week if NHL players will be participating in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

“I don’t expect any resolution or decisions this week,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press in an email on Thursday.

So…what’s the hold up?

Last week, TSN’s Bob McKenzie called NHL participation “just short of a foregone conclusion,” suggesting a deal between the league, players’ association, IIHF, and IOC — all of whom were set to meet today and tomorrow in New York — was imminent.

But as Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston writes today, it might not be so easy to get all the parties to agree.

…don’t for a second believe that the NHL’s participation in a fifth straight Olympic Games is as much a certainty as we’ve all thought. On the eve of the meetings, two sources who view the issue from different vantage points told sportsnet.ca that they could envision a scenario in which a deal isn’t reached.

There was more than a hint of tension in the air. Relationships are frayed.

Rene Fasel, the wildcard who wears two hats (IIHF and IOC), certainly didn’t help things. He not only told the CBC last weekend that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had “no other choice” but to allow players to go to Sochi, but also said that it was “ego from some people in North America” that was keeping it from happening.

At this point it doesn’t even matter that there is a small grain of truth in those statements. Finger-pointing and name-calling, especially from someone in Fasel’s position, isn’t going to help the process along.

Chances are, a deal gets done eventually. But maybe not before some chest-thumping and rhetoric-spitting.

Sound familiar?

Related: Oates doesn’t think NHLers belong in Olympics

  1. danaking - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    Bettman always claims to want to increase the NHL’s footprint as an international sport, going so far as to play regular-season games in Europe. The Olympics, for all their faults, are the ultimate international stage. Never mind the time zones don’t work well for North American television. the rest of the world might get jazzed.

    It amazes me how such short-sighted men can rise to position of power.

    • stakex - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:16 PM

      You are making the same mistakes that people made during the lockout…. that Bettman is a dictator who calls all the shots. Thats so wrong its not even funny. Hes a puppet who does exactlly what the owners tell him. Its not Bettman who has an issue with the Olympics (or if he does, it has nothing to do with the delay), its some of the owners.

      Now to be clear, I’m all for the NHL players going to the Olympics. I probably won’t watch them anyway, but I deffinatly won’t watch if the NHL players don’t go. I however, am not a team owner… and I can also understand why some of the owners, GMs, and coaches are against it.

      I mean think about… I’ll use Crosby as an example: Pittsburgh has pretty much built their team around the guy, and they have commited to pay him a truck load of money over the next decade. He has also caused the value of the team to go up by tens of millions of dollars. Say he goes to the Olympics and gets a concussion that ends his career…. the damage that will do to the Pens is amazing. They lose their best player, the teams value drops, and they would have to completely redesign their team. Not to mention teams with star filled rosters will have a large part of their team playing a bunch of extra games that could matter come May/June.

      So there is certainly an understandable reason why some owners/coaches/GMs might be against NHL players going to the Olympics.

  2. jasol20 - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    It doesn’t help to generate interest on a grand scale if the best in the world won’t be playing. Even in terms of North America, the NHL should be trying to gain back some ground lost in the lockout. The olympics are a great way to do this, particularly when the whole country gets behind a team, and then realizes they can watch those same great players right at home. After a successful run by Team USA on the international stage, hockey always generates a little more fandom and buzz at home. It may not last long, but it would be a great way to re-generate some lost interest.

  3. ethanmacleod1685 - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    Hurry up and get the deal done so I can buy some tickets!

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