NHL "Likely" Headed To '14 Sochi Games, But Looking For Better Deal From IIHF, IOC
It is "highly likely, just short of a foregone conclusion," that the NHL will be "shutting down 16 days in the middle of next season to allow its players to participate" in the '14 Sochi Games, according to Bob McKenzie of TSN. It is not a foregone conclusion because the NHL and the NHLPA are "looking for a better deal" from the IIHF and the IOC "in terms of player participation for the Olympics." The better deal does not concern monitary reasons, but rather "better access to the players -- the use of images, the use of video, as well as accommodation and tickets." There will be "a meeting next week between the IOC, the IIHF, the NHL and the NHLPA and it's a united front for the most part -- NHL and NHLPA -- trying to get this better deal" (TSN.ca, 2/5). IIHF President Rene Fasel in an interview with Olympics-themed publication Around The Rings said that he is "confident that NHL players will participate" in Sochi. A decision is expected this spring (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 2/5). The NHL still has not committed to participate in the Olympics, but NBC Sports Group Chair Mark Lazarus expressed optimism that it would show up. He said that Fasel and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman were expected to meet in the coming week (THE DAILY).