NHL working on two different schedules for 2017-18 due to Olympic uncertainty

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NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly spoke once again about the NHL’s potential participation in the 2018 Olympics on Friday and said the league is still searching for a compelling reason to take part in the games that will be played in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

While there has been no official decision — or anything even closer to an official decision — on whether or not the league will send its players, Daly did admit that the league is in the process of developing two different scheduling scenarios for the 2017-18 season. One that involves NHL Olympic participation, and one that does not.

The fact it is preparing two different schedules at least shows the league has not yet completely eliminated the idea of playing.

Daly said on Thursday, via the Associated Press, that the reason for working on two schedules was to show the IIHF that the league is not imposing a hard deadline on them.

It has been expected that some sort of decision would be made by the middle of January.

One of the NHL’s biggest holdups in sending its players to the 2018 games is the travel and insurances costs associated with the trip.

In previous Olympics dating back to the 1998 games in Nagano, Japan, the first time the NHL participated, those costs have been covered by the IOC and the IIHF. The two groups are not as willing to cover them this time around.

The NHL recently tried to work out a deal with the NHLPA that would allow them to play in the 2018 games if it meant that the current CBA would be extended an additional three years. The NHLPA rejected that proposal.