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Tampa awarded the 2018 All-Star Game, further dampening Olympic hopes

Pittsburgh Penguins v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Four

TAMPA, FL - MAY 20: Fans gather outside of the arena prior to Game Four of the Eastern Conference Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 20, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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PITTSBURGH -- The Tampa Bay Lightning will host the 2018 NHL All-Star Game.

The league made the announcement today before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, confirming a report that came out a couple of weeks ago.

The announcement was noteworthy beyond the Bolts getting the event. It was also the latest nail in the 2018 Winter Olympics coffin, so far as NHL participation is concerned.

That’s because the last three Olympic years (2006, 2010, 2014), there has been no All-Star Game.

The 2018 Winter Olympics run Feb. 9-25 in South Korea, starting just two weeks after the 2018 ASG is now scheduled to be played (Jan. 28).

The final, final nail in the coffin could come next month when the NHL announces the 2017-18 schedule during the draft in Chicago (June 23-24).

The league announced in April its “intention” to finalize the 2017-18 schedule “without any break to accommodate the Olympic Winter Games.” However, some felt at the time that the league was bluffing.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said today that nothing had changed with regards to the April announcement.