Is the NHL - 2018 Olympics discussion over? Depends on who you ask
One common ploy in negotiations - and boy, the NHL and NHLPA sure seem to love negotiations - is to pretend to walk away from the table to try to put pressure on the other side.
More than a few people probably hope that the discussion really isn’t over regarding sending NHL players to the 2018 Winter Olympics, so is there room for movement?
Well ... maybe it depends.
“We know clubs don’t want to go and we’re not looking to negotiate,” Bettman said at one point.
The overriding theme of Bettman’s argument was that the NHL is the only sports league that interrupts its season to participate in the Olympics, and that owners have “had enough” of the disruption to regular seasons.
There are plenty of other interesting nuggets from that discussion. For one thing, Bettman said he’d be “thrilled” by the idea of moving hockey to the Summer Olympics, thus seemingly getting around the more disruptive aspects of such participation.
The players may disagree even on that note, however:
In fact, many players have expressed a desire to me to have the next World Cup of Hockey mid-season, not in September.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) April 4, 2017
Another interesting wrinkle? The players/NHLPA might’ve dropped the ball on the Olympics ... or maybe they don’t care as much as they lead on.
Bettman says players going to Olympics used to be in CBA, but it wasn't put in the last one. Pretty big blunder by the NHLPA— Joey Alfieri (@joeyalfieri) April 4, 2017
Wow. The interview is worth listening to, though it will provide little consolation if you’re unhappy about players not being sent to the Olympics.
Speaking of which, NHLPA head Donald Fehr does seem to hope that maybe the discussion could book back up, after all.
Bettman doesn’t paint a rosy picture, but for all we know, maybe something could work out?
(Probably not, but still.)