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Category: NHLPA

Morning Line- Craig Custance

Any notion that these two sides -- the NHLPA and NHL -- were partners in growing the game appear to be gone, thoughts of shared press conferences preceding the World Cup of Hockey a distant memory. You can already see the two sides retreating to their corners.

-Craig Custance of ESPN when answering this question- What will be the most notable fallout from the NHL's decision not to go to the Olympics?  More from Custance and the ESPN hockey crew.

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Not Good For Our Game

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

I have to tell you, I never thought they’d do it.

I thought someone would step up at the last second. Or, I thought NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman would hold his nose and say, “As much as I hate this…we’ll go.”

Let me say this in no uncertain terms: this is bad. It’s bad for hockey. South Korea may not be China, but it’s not the Solomon Islands. There are a lot of people and influential sponsors who could be exposed to the game.

The Olympics are a fantastic showcase, the pinnacle of sport. The players love it, fans love it. I loved covering them. It’s terrific. Hockey does not win by missing out.

Here’s the problem: it’s not so easy to pick the villain. Bettman is an obvious target, and being commissioner means you eat it. The job and salary comes with that responsibility.

continued

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NHLPA Statement On The Olympics

TORONTO (April 3, 2017) - The National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) released the following statement regarding the NHL's decision on the 2018 Winter Olympics:

"The players are extraordinarily disappointed and adamantly disagree with the NHL's shortsighted decision to not continue our participation in the Olympics.

Any sort of inconvenience the Olympics may cause to next season's schedule is a small price to pay compared to the opportunity to showcase our game and our greatest players on this enormous international stage. ​

A unique opportunity lies ahead with the 2018 and 2022 Olympics in Asia. The NHL may believe it is penalizing the IOC or the players, or both, for not giving the owners some meaningful concessions in order to induce them to agree to go to PyeongChang. Instead this impedes the growth of our great game by walking away from an opportunity to reach sports fans worldwide.

Moreover, it is doing so after the financial issues relating to insurance and transportation have been resolved with the IOC and IIHF. The League's efforts to blame others for its decision is as unfortunate as the decision itself. NHL players are patriotic and they do not take this lightly. A decent respect for the opinions of the players matters. This is the NHL's decision, and its alone. It is very unfortunate for the game, the players and millions of loyal hockey fans."

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“Shifting Attitude” Towards Gambling

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

Komarov is the new global ambassador for NordicBet, a European-based betting website. His sponsorship deal is the first of its kind for an active NHL player and signals a shifting attitude within the sport about affiliations with gambling.

Todd Diamond of International Sports Advisors Co., the agency that represents Komarov, said the arrangement was cleared with the Leafs front office before it was finalized.

It didn’t raise any red flags for the NHL or NHL Players’ Association, either.

“It doesn’t violate our rules as long as he isn’t directly promoting sports wagering and as long as the advertising is limited to where NordicBet’s business is legal,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly told Sportsnet.

Komarov was actually approached by multiple betting companies, according to Diamond, and found NordicBet most appealing because it is a publicly traded company in Sweden.

“They are sensitive to the legalities and concerns of Leo,” said Diamond....

With the NHL expanding to Las Vegas starting next season, it’s reasonable to expect more of these deals to start emerging in the hockey world.

more

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  Tags: leo+komarov

Afternoon Line- Scott Burnside On Hockey In China

The NHL will have to commit resources to support that infrastructure in helping to coach the coaches and administrators who might oversee a fledgling hockey culture in China.

It's the kind of grandiose plan that will need the support of business leaders in North America and China to make a reality. It is the kind of plan with a million moving parts, a million things that could once again leave NHL powerbrokers wondering if it was all worth it.

But if it's done right, it does represent the kind of magic the NHL envisioned when it first sent its players to the Olympics in 1998 and which has, in many ways, eluded the league.

-Scott Burnside of ESPN where you can read more on this topic.

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Afternoon Line- Donald Fehr On The 2018 Winter Olympics

“I’ve been in this business too long to make predictions either on timing or anything else, I think at this point, we have to wait and see how it plays out. I think, however, if we end up not going, the reaction from the players’ side — across the board — is not going to be a good one. And my guess is it’s going to last for a very long time.”

-Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHLPA.  Michael Traikos of the National Post has more on this topic.

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  Tags: donald+fehr

The Latest From The IIHF On The Olympics

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

The head of the International Ice Hockey Federation remains hopeful for an NHL Olympic resolution but again made it clear that skipping the tournament in South Korea in 2018, then coming back to play in Beijing in 2022, is not the way to go.

"We have previously stated that the NHL can't just pick and choose which Olympics to participate in," Rene Fasel said in a statement to ESPN.com from the IIHF on Monday. "Our discussions are focused on going to Pyeongchang, and any discussion about Beijing can wait until this has been settled.

"Building ice hockey's profile in Asia is one of the top mandates of my current presidential term. There is a rising interest in the sport within Korea, and we would miss a huge opportunity to grow the game if we didn't have a best-on-best showcase in this country."

continued

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Donald Fehr On The Olympics

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

The NHL should not be waiting for the players to give up something in return for Olympic participation, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr told ESPN on Thursday.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said earlier this week that if things stayed status quo, "assume we are not going" to next year's Winter Olympics. Many read that as an inference that the league wants the players to give something back so they can participate.

"I don't know what it can be from the players' perspective,'' Fehr told ESPN in a phone interview Thursday. "Obviously the players are not about to engage in collective bargaining in return for getting an opportunity to go to the Olympics for which they aren't being paid, where very valuable things would go elsewhere in return for that....

The bottom line, Fehr said, is the next two Olympics are a great opportunity for hockey.

"We do want to grow the game internationally, and I think the NHL shares that view," Fehr said. "I think they believe as we do that we have some advantages and we have an opportunity; and when you're doing that, you have to take advantage of opportunities when they come your way.

"Having two Olympic Games in Asia within a span of five years is not your ordinary kettle of fish. I don't know if it's unique, but I can't think of anything else which is close to it in terms of the potential exposure it would give.''

more

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  Tags: donald+fehr

The Real Negotiations Are About To Begin Regarding The NHL And 2018 Olympics

from John Shannon of Sportsnet,

The negotiations are about to begin. No more posturing. No more pleasantries. We will soon hear about a deadline date. We will know in short order whether NHL players will play on the Olympic ice in South Korea next February. All sides will decide how important it is to play in the Games. My gut says the next three weeks are key — before April 12 and the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. No one wants the Olympic discussion to become a distraction then.

Perhaps that day becomes the deadline?

Far to one side, the International Olympic Committee. Set in its ways and happy to spend other peoples' money (not just hockey's) for infrastructure and the glory of the Olympic movement. The formula has worked well for the IOC. Through summer and winter Games, scandal and deceit, doping and bribery, the Olympic movement just keeps chugging along. No reason to change, no reason to share the wealth. After all, if you change for the NHL, you’ll have to change for other leagues and organizations that are involved, such as the NBA, PGA, LPGA and both of tennis’ governing bodies. If you pay for hockey, you might just have to pay for other sports, too.

Far to the other side, the National Hockey League. The 31 owners and a senior executive at the league office who can’t comprehend what the value of the Olympics are anymore if there isn’t some form of compensation or acknowledgement of hockey’s best league. It goes beyond tickets and access or the ability to use video footage. It is about answering a simple question: What’s in it for us?

read on

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The Olympic Debate

Commissioner Gary Bettman reiterated on Tuesday that he doesn't think the NHL players will be taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. But what's really going on here? Will the players go or is this just another bargaining tactic by all sides involved? ESPN writers Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun weigh in.

Burnside: Every time I hear Gary Bettman say how much the owners hate the Olympics and how no one should expect the NHL and its players to be in South Korea for the 2018 Olympics, the more convinced I am that it's only a matter of time until we get confirmation the NHL and its players will be back for the sixth straight Olympic hockey tournament. Why? Simple. Bettman can't afford not to go, no matter how much the Olympic tournament disrupts the NHL schedule. He can't afford to have the world's eyes on a bunch of collegiate players and long-in-the-tooth former NHLers in PyeongChang while the NHLers are toiling away back in North America....

LeBrun: Let's remember how we got to this ridiculous Olympic stalemate. It began more than a year ago with IOC president Thomas Bach saying his governing body was no longer covering costs for the NHL players, as it had at past Olympics. Thank you, Mr. Bach, for poking the bear. Now some NHL owners care about an issue they really didn't think that much about previously -- it gave the NHL an opportunity to make this an issue. This is the same Thomas Bach who referred to his first presence in meeting with the NHL early last month as a "courtesy" visit. Gee, don't inconvenience yourself while people figure out whether or not the best players in the world should be playing in your Olympics hockey tournament....

more from Burnside and LeBrun

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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.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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