Talks about pro players participating in Sochi among the NHL, IIHF, and IOC are slow and going as the sides try to negotiate a way for the NHL to be compensated for the disruption that a two-week break causes in their season, not to mention the risk of injury to its players.
The NHL is asking for additional video rights and other considerations, but the IOC is trying to avoid setting a precedent that they might possibly have to extend to other leagues, most notably the NBA, which has begrudgingly allowed its players to participate in the Summer Games since 1992.
Basically the NHL is asking for the right to show Olympic video across all its platforms, including the NHL Network, NHL.com, and even arena Jumbotrons. It seems like a small concession, but use of video, like Sidney Crosby winning his gold in Vancouver, typically comes at a high premium for all involved leagues and the IOC doesn’t want to forfeit that.
Of course, the NHL might also be asking for additional financial compensation or increased prerequisites for participating, according to the New York Times, but IIHF President Rene Fasel said those requests are basically null and void because “We do not have the money, and it is very easy.” Well then.
Former IOC Vice President Dick Pound previously said it would be “cosmically stupid for the NHL not to participate” since the Olympics exposure for the NHL was so monumental during the last four Winter Olympics due to great games between historic rivals like the U.S and Canada. And even though it may take time, TSN’s Bob McKenzie called it “all but a forgone conclusion.” Let’s just hope he’s right.