Sunday, March 29, 2009

2010 is a go, 2014 maybe not so...

The difference of opinion between IIHF head Rene Fasel and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman seems likely to grow larger as the head of the NHL seems to be sending signals that the NHL's participation in the Olympic movement is about to come to an end.

The Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi is the host of the 2014 games, but if the rumblings out of the NHL head office are any indication the likelihood of an Ovechkin, Malkin or any rising star of Russian heritage skating on home ice may not be in the cards.

The NHL has long expressed their concern over the need to shut down business for a couple of weeks for the Olympic break, and with Vancouver providing the last North American host venue for the next few years, the temptation to abandon the Olympic forumla seems a much desired one.

Still to be heard from however may be the NHLPA, which thus far has been fairly onboard with the idea of participation in the Olympic Dreams of its membership, if Mr. Fasel is looking for a few allies in his quest to secure NHL participation, then a few phone calls to the NHLPA leadership may help his cause.

It's expected that any future participation will have to be enshrined in the next collective bargaining agreement, a process that will probably provide for any number of controversial issues for both sides to negotiate.

Olympic participation may be the price to pay for some NHL desired claw backs, while the IIHF won't have much to say on the tone or result of those negotiations, they will have to deal with the fall out or accommodations that result from them.

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