Friday marked the second straight day of NHL Olympic participation meetings in New York. Four parties — the NHL, NHLPA, IIHF and IOC — met to discuss a variety of topics, but two participants stood out above the rest:
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and IIHF president Rene Fasel.
Why? Well, the two haven’t always worked together harmoniously and, as Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston points out, the days leading up to the meeting weren’t exactly ideal:
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.
Despite that, there was optimism emanating from Friday’s meeting. Johnston said there was a “feeling” that discussions “got started in the right direction” this week.
On that note, here are Bettman and Fasel addressing the media: