Kontinental Hockey League VP Vladimir Shalaev said that the league "will halt next season's schedule a full two weeks before the start of the Sochi 2014 Olympics hockey tournament," according to R-SPORT. The 52-game season, which starts on Sept. 4 in Moscow, will break on Jan. 30, and resume on Feb. 26. The first Olympic hockey game is scheduled for Feb. 12. The sizeable rest starkly contrasts what the NHL and NHL Players’ Association "are proposing for its schedule as part of ongoing negotiations with international hockey officials and Olympic organizers over releasing its players for the Games." NHL officials have said that the league would pause on Feb. 9, giving Olympians "only three days to fly to Europe." Shalaev attacked the '13-14 schedule, saying he was "embarrassed" it offers only 52 games due to int'l hockey commitments. He said, "A league like the KHL has no right giving fans only 52 games in the regular season. It’s a mockery; it’s like making Pavarotti sing once a year" (R-SPORT, 6/17).
Several notable IOC members said that members of the IOC, "who will vote in less than three months to decide the host city for the 2020 Summer Olympics," are increasingly leaning toward Tokyo as the favorite, according to KYODO. Tokyo's emphasis on safety and security appears to be influencing the race for the 2020 Games, "rendering the Japanese capital a squeaky clean candidate amidst the turmoil and instability being witnessed in Istanbul and Madrid." An IOC veteran from Europe speaking on condition of anonymity said that "Tokyo is within reach of winning the bid, while another high-profile member with experience on the IOC Executive Board believes Tokyo will win as long as it has no major mistakes from now." One IOC member from Asia who said that he would also like to remain anonymous called the turmoil a "big blow" to Istanbul. Police in Istanbul "are being blamed for attacking peaceful demonstrators in Taksim Square" (KYODO, 6/17).