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.
Related: Oates doesn’t think NHLers belong in Olympics
It makes sense that a swift bit of history happened in a game in which three goals were scored scored on three shots in about three minutes.
Brad Marchand found the net eight seconds in after an icing call, setting a new record for the Boston Bruins.
(You can see that goal in the video above.)
Again, there were three fast goals overall, with Boston getting two of them. Here’s the Red Wings goal, which narrowly survived a review:
Things didn’t really slow down that much after that, as Loui Eriksson made it 3-1 for the Bruins.
Maybe the best moment wasn’t a goal: Torey Krug was seemingly hurt by a Pavel Datsyuk hit, yet he returned without missing much time.
When the New Jersey Devils shut down a team 1-0, it’s usually with Cory Schneider in net.
Their workhorse got the afternoon off against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, yet Keith Kinkaid did his Schneider impression, grabbing his first NHL shutout in the process.
It was a low-event game with just 46 combined shots on goal, but Kinkaid had to work, stopping all 28 shots. To give you an idea of how tight this game was, the only tally was credited to David Schlemko on the power play.
This gives the Devils three straight wins. They managed to climb into third place in the Metropolitan Division, although New Jersey’s edge is a little misleading; the Islanders trail them by one standings point while holding three games in hand.
That leaves the Islanders in the bottom wild card spot, while the Penguins aren’t so far behind either.
Third in Metro: Devils – 65 points with 57 games played
Second wildcard: Islanders – 64 points, 54 GP
First spot outside the East playoffs: Penguins – 63 points, 54 GP
So, the Devils’ hold of a playoff spot is a bit tenuous, yet the bottom line is that they’re staying in the mix.
The Kings, meanwhile, remain comfortably in first in the Pacific.
The Boston Bruins (without Patrice Bergeron) take on the Detroit Red Wings (missing Jonathan Ericsson) on Sunday afternoon.
It’s a matchup between the second-ranked and third-ranked teams in the Atlantic Division, with little separating the two in the standings.
You can watch the game on NBC and also stream it online via the link below.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
As cool as it was at the time for many, Patrice Bergeron‘s fight against Blake Wheeler is … honestly, a good reminder why players like Bergeron rarely drop the gloves.
Multiple outlets including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty report that Bergeron will miss Sunday afternoon’s game against the Detroit Red Wings (which you can watch on NBC).
We don’t know a ton about the injury aside from the fact that the multiple Selke-winner is considered day-to-day.
People don’t seem overly concerned about this issue, but you have to wonder if Bergeron made a bad choice, especially considering his history of concussion issues.
You can watch the bout that may or may not have left him injured in the video above.