It appears the Dec. 31 submission date for Olympic rosters has been moved by a week.
The new deadline will be either Jan. 6 or Jan. 7, according to ESPN sources. News of the extended submission date will come as a surprise to many and probably raise some eyebrows, given that ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun appeared on TSN’s Insider Trading on Tuesday evening and confirmed the date wouldn’t be moved.
“The message from [IIHF president Rene] Fasel to Russia, Sweden, Finland — who wanted to extend the deadline — is no,” LeBrun said. “The deal we made with the NHL and NHLPA will remain, Dec. 31.”
It’s unclear why the deadline is being extended, or why the federations LeBrun mentioned were keen to have it pushed.
USA Hockey had planned to announce its roster during the Winter Classic broadcast on Jan. 1 (ESPN also reports that Team USA had been given an exemption to the original Dec. 31 deadline).
Update No. 1
More, from LeBrun:
Sources indicate that while he was standing firm against pressure from Russia, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic to move the deadline, Fasel was back-channeling with the NHLPA and NHL on Tuesday and Wednesday to see if there was any wiggle room at all — with the key person to convince being NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.
The NHLPA likes the early roster deadline because it allows players who are selected to plan ahead and make plans with family members, etc. For the NHL, it’s more about marketing. Thus, Fehr was the key cog who needed convincing.
The Russians, Swedes, Finns and Czechs were pushing for a Jan. 15 deadline, two weeks after the original deadline. In the end, the NHLPA and NHL signed off on moving the deadline to Jan. 7.
And I’m guessing the NHLPA garnered a nice future favor from the IIHF for this; that’s how these things work.
Update No. 2
According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, USA Hockey is “definitely” sticking to its Jan. 1 date of unveiling its Olympic roster.