Report: NHL offers Olympic participation to players, in return for an extended CBA

AP
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The NHL doesn’t really want to go to the Olympics in South Korea.

Just ask commissioner Gary Bettman, who’s made 2018 participation sound like one, giant hassle for the league, with no real business benefit.

Whenever the subject of the additional travel and insurance expenses has been raised, Bettman’s go-to line has been, “I’m pretty sure that our teams are not really interested in paying for the privilege of disrupting our season.”

The players, on the other hand, would like to keep playing in the Olympics. Their union has made no secret about that, and Alex Ovechkin has once again vowed to participate regardless of what the NHL decides.

So really, when you consider all of the above, it should come as no surprise that the NHL has reportedly decided to use the Olympics as leverage.

From Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman:

No one is willing to comment at this time, so it is difficult to pin down particulars. But, in exchange for the league’s blessing, the NHLPA would agree to extend the collective bargaining agreement. One source indicated it could be for three more years, but I can’t pin that down to be 100 per cent accurate.

The current CBA expires Sept. 15, 2022. However, both the NHL and NHLPA have the ability to opt out in 2020. If the league wants to go that route, it must notify the union by Sept. 1, 2019. Should it say, “Thanks but no thanks,” the players have the option. It must notify the NHL by Sept. 19, 2019. Should neither side want this, we go the full term.

NHLPA chief Donald Fehr has since confirmed the offer from the NHL, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. It’s a “long way from done,” says Fehr, but he will talk to the players about it.

Now, if you’re wondering why the players may need some prodding to extend the CBA, the answer is one word: escrow. It is by far their biggest concern, and after the Canadian dollar took a bit of a hit following a certain presidential election, the escrow situation may not be improving anytime soon.

So, now we wait for the players to respond.

Isn’t this fun?

It’s not, we know, so here is some Evander Kane trade speculation to read.