Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 02/11/13 at 01:25 AM ET
According to the Globe and Mail's David Shoalts, the NHL and NHLPA plan on meeting to discuss the thorny issues of realignment and Olympic participation and the finalization of the CBA with each other this week, and in the Olympic category, they'll be meeting with the International Olympic Committee on Thursday and Friday, but because the sticky wickets involving realignment and the Olympics are so contentious--especially given Rene Fasel's doofy statements to Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday (click on the second link for some charming "arrogance" from The Dentist)--that Shoalts suggests that the only issue the two (and sometimes three) sides will agree on is that the CBA's more or less good to go:
The players may be eager to keep playing in the Olympics but they do agree with the NHL owners, who think they get nothing in return for interrupting their regular-season schedule. They think there needs to be some giving on the part of the IOC and IIHF on several fronts, including access to players’ and NHL teams’ regular doctors, insurance, a cut of the revenue they bring in and the schedule regarding both Olympic participation and other international competition.
The latter issue concerns Olympic orientation camps and the dormant World Cup of Hockey. The NHL and the players want to make sure the Olympic orientation camps held by each country the summer before the games are shorter and less intense than the week-long affairs in the past. They also want to get an agreement on having the World Cup serve as the major international hockey competition every two years in an Olympic off-year, probably in September.
Realignment remains a hot issue with the owners but the players want to make sure their concerns about excessive travel and equal chances to make the playoffs are met before they give their required permission. One thing different this time around is whatever plan is presented to the NHL governors for their approval will have already been agreed to by the players. Last year, the governors approved a plan only to see it shot down by the players.
“We’ve been discussing alignment with the union over a period of time since we agreed on the new [collective agreement],” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an e-mail message Sunday. “Yes, our final recommendation in terms of approach for next year will be brought to the [governors] for its review and approval.”
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