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.