Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Pierre LeBrun: Where does this go after Sochi in terms of future NHL Olympic participation? Every single player we've talked to here at the Games wants to remain involved. We all understand it's more complicated than that, but ...
Donald Fehr: It's always an issue to have to shut down a business for a length of time. It's always a greater issue when you're shutting the business at a point in time in which the substitute product, if you will, is not prime time back to the areas that you are. There's always people [who] worry about the additional games and the injury risk and so on.
And the question is a couple things: Is this something that NHL players should do because it's good for the game overall, good for worldwide marketing and approach and all the rest of it? It is a question as to what the players would like and prefer to do.
And then it's the question of negotiating the details and arrangements to make sure we can make it work. People have a tendency, I think, of thinking I'm being cagey or holding my cards close to my vest. But in fact, what we'll do is that after this is over, we'll let it digest for a while; we'll begin to talk to the players; we'll talk to the parents; we'll see what kind of reaction federations had.
And then, I'm sure, at our executive board meeting this summer, we'll have long discussions. And either then or after my meeting with the players in the fall, the players will tell me what they want me to do and then I'll go try and do it. That's basically it.
LeBrun: All 700-plus NHL players are not here in the Olympics. What's always intrigued me is the idea of how rank-and-file players who never get to play in the Olympics really feel about shutting down the game for the Olympics and whether their input is heeded.
SOCHI, RUSSIA (Feb. 23, 2014) – National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly today released the following statement regarding Nicklas Backstrom:
“We understand that Nicklas Backstrom tested positive for a substance banned ‘in competition’ by the International Olympic Committee. It is our further understanding that the positive test was the result of a common allergy medication taken by the player knowingly, with the approval of the team doctor and without the intention of gaining an illegal or improper performance-enhancing benefit. In addition, the specific substance that resulted in the positive test is not currently on the League’s Prohibited Substances List.
“Subject to confirmation of the facts as we understand them, and given the fact that the substance is neither prohibited in the NHL nor was used in an improper manner here, we do not anticipate there being any consequences relative to Nicklas’ eligibility to participate in games for the Washington Capitals.”
added 11:38am, Washington Capitals statement...
ARLINGTON, Va. – Nicklas Backstrom did not participate in Team Sweden’s Olympic gold-medal game on Sunday due to the allergy medication he has been taking intermittently for seven years, including this season while playing for the Washington Capitals to combat severe allergies. The medicine was approved by the Swedish national team. It is not anticipated that this will impact his participation in NHL games.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
There are risks and rewards associated with the NHL’s inclusion in the Olympics. Injuries are an obvious risk. The NHL hasn’t yet been able to quantify the rewards that come from its league’s and its athletes’ partnership with sport’s quadrennial global celebration.
That doesn’t mean the rewards don’t exist, only that Sixth Avenue hasn’t been able to figure out how to calculate, maximize and capitalize on them. It seems the league has an irrational fear of exploring the international market.
The NHL spends all of its time reminding everyone its hockey is the best hockey, that the Stanley Cup represents the lone legitimate hockey championship, that having the Cup handed you by a teammate is a more cherished honor than having the gold medal slipped around your neck.
And there’s no argument, really, and certainly not on this side of the pond. But the NHL would be better served — that means the industry of the NHL that includes the season subscribers who do still pay the freight — by expanding its interaction and competition with the best in the Europe and by exploiting its association with the Olympics.
Stanley Cup. Olympic Gold. World Cup.
from CBS Boston,
As for the future of NHL players participating in the Olympics, Olczyk had an interesting solution to the league’s opposition to shutting down for several weeks in the middle of the season.
“Maybe we’re getting to the point where you’ve got to get creative. Maybe you’ve got to say, ‘You know what? We’re going to have men’s ice hockey in the summer Olympics.’ You have it in August. Everybody wins there. Everybody wins. You don’t shut down the NHL, and you still allow the best hockey players in the world to come to a tournament like this.”
read on for Olczyk's opinion on the USA/Canada game...
The first alarm that goes of in my head is hockey would end up on the XYZ channel during the Summer Olympics.
If you have an opinion, let's hear it...
Gary Bettman was on with the NBC Sports Group today and did an interview with Al Michaels.
I am not sure if all these quotes are from the interview but that really doesn't matter, what he says does.
via a press release from NBC,
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on the men’s hockey tournament: “It’s been a terrific tournament so far, the hockey has been good, it’s been fun, it’s been entertaining and I think we have two great semifinal matchups.”
Bettman on whether he was surprised by the outcome of Russia v. Finland yesterday: “Not shocked. There’s a reason we play the games, you never know what’s going to happen. You could feel the air come out of the [hockey arena], actually you could feel the air come out of the whole area here. I know that it’s terribly disappointing for the Russian players and for the entire country because they take great pride in the history that Russian hockey has.”
Bettman on whether a lack of coordination between the players, who have not had much time playing together, is to blame for Russia’s loss: “The remaining four teams don’t seem to be relying on that excuse. In the days of amateur hockey people tend to forget that the Russian team was completely professional. That’s what made the ‘Miracle on Ice’ such a miracle because you had a bunch of college kids who came together to defeat a professional team.”
I am starting to feel the last two back to back 3:00am ET games right about now.
So time to catch up on some sleep, recharge and get back at it tomorrow.
Regarding the tweet below, you have to imagine the flight is going to feel a lot longer for those aboard tomorrow.
On the way to Sochi, I am sure there was much anticipation bot tomorrow it will a group of players who have been eliminated from the competition and probably some injured players too.
Safe travels for those returning home and best of luck for those still participating.
We will be watching.
from Mike Imrem of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
The league always is looking for a way to make January and February relevant, a series of outdoor games being the latest concoction.
Here’s the solution: Bah-bah, Olympics, bye-bye.
Then set aside six weeks in the dead of winter and make the break more useful by annually or every couple of years playing an Olympic-style tournament in cities around North America.
The first week would be to gather players for practice. The final week would give them an opportunity to unwind.
The middle four weeks would feature a compelling international tournament at home.
Players who want to represent their native lands — though not enough to enlist in the military, by the way — still would be able to wave their flags.
Fans in places like Chicago who are addicted to attending hockey games would get rivalries like U.S.-Canada instead of Blackhawks-Blues.
NHL owners would lose revenue from maybe a dozen fewer regular-season games but get it back in more lucrative TV contracts and bloated ticket prices for the tournament.
The National Hockey League (NHL) was non-committal about players' future participation in the Olympics on Tuesday, leaving open the possibility that the Sochi Games might be the last to showcase the world's best players.
The three most powerful men in hockey - Rene Fasel, head of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Players Association chief Donald Fehr - had no firm answers for reporters when asked whether NHL players would be back in four years' time.
"Yes, Rene would love for Don and I to say today that we are coming (to Pyeongchang), but he knows that's not the case," said Bettman. "This is the fifth time we have participated in the Olympic tournament - where we are in this process should not be a shock to anybody."
In North America, talk persists that Sochi will mark the final time that NHL players will be seen on Olympic ice. Bettman insisted nothing has been decided and negotiations would continue, as has been the case after every Winter Games.
"Let's try to be very clear, it's nothing that's been discussed, it's nothing that will be discussed while we are here in Sochi," said Bettman.
On Tuesday, NHL commission Gary Bettmann, players association chief Don Fehr and Rene Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, will meet with the media in Sochi. What they’ll say is unknown, but the league’s braintrust — Bettman and his No. 2, Bill Daly — have been saying that Sochi will be the last go-round for the NHL and there won’t be any NHL players in Pyeongchang in 2018. Their desire is to relaunch the World Cup, but they’re dreaming in technicolor if they believe that tournament would generate the kind of passion and following the Olympics inspire.
In the space of about five minutes, for example, American T.J. Oshie became a worldwide phenomenon when he scored four goals in six shootout attempts in the Americans’ 3-2 win over Russia on Saturday. Just under a million tweets were sent out about Toshie in the 4-1/2 hours following the game. U.S. president Barack Obama tweeted about the St. Louis Blues forward. So did movie stars and NFL and Major League Baseball players.
Do you think that would happen at a World Cup? Let’s ask a tougher question. Do you think Vladimir Putin owns a box set of Fawlty Towers?
-Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province. More from Willes at Canada.com looking at the injury factor of players.
NHL Player Agent Pat Brisson is featured.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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