Nobody knows when the 2012-13 NHL campaign will start, or if it’ll start at all.
In light of that, the NHLPA is cooking something up that might intrigue hockey fans during the lockout.
According to the Toronto Star, the union wants to hold a multi-game series between the best players that Canada and Russia has to offer. The NHLPA has already reached out to Hockey Canada in the hopes of holding preliminary discussions.
It’s an interesting idea, though the union still needs to answer a number of questions about the event — primarily, which Canadian broadcaster would air the games?
CBC and TSN already have NHL deals while Sportsnet enjoys regional TV agreements with the league. Several senior broadcast officials said that none of them want to do anything to potentially hurt their relationship with the league, according to the Star.
“You think CBC wants to do anything right now to upset the NHL?” one media executive told the Star. “No way. They’re trying desperately to hold onto their contract with the NHL.”
On top of that, Bell and Rogers — the owners of TSN and Sportsnet respectively — are the co-owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Aside from the broadcast issue lies the potential for injuries. Players who participate in this tournament might jeopardize their NHL deals should they get hurt. The NHLPA has already warned the players about that possibility should they choose to play in Europe, and a recent post from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun noted that “if a player is injured while playing in another league during the lockout, an NHL club can suspend him without pay until he is fit to play.”
The NHL players can purchase insurance coverage, but that could cost them something in the ballpark of $35,000 per $1 million in coverage.
So those hoping for a new Summit Series featuring Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin shouldn’t get too excited yet.
The idea is out there, but it’s far from a sure thing.