An announcement from NHL Commisioner Gary Bettman about whether players will be able to participate in the Sochi Games was expected sometime this month, but May is drawing to a close with no word yet from the league.
Now Bettman’s top deputy Bill Daly is saying that talks are still ongoing between the NHL, NHLPA, IOC, and IIHF over everything from media rights to accommodations. And if things drag too long, it will eventually become a problem of scheduling.
“We need to know what we’re doing with the Olympics next year to issue our schedule,” Daly said. “It’s important that we make a decision one way or the other by the time we normally release our schedule.”
The NHL schedule is usually released in June. But with new division alignments and an unbalanced schedule coming next year, the significant changes will be more difficult to incorporate.
Word about Sochi was supposed to come last week, after the IIHF Worlds, and Daly has previously said that the league was “proceeding under the assumption that the NHL will participate.” But talks are taking longer than expected, and the new major issue is which body will pay to insure the players.
“There is obviously a risk involved when you bring over a projected 160-180 NHL players, where the total contract value would be around $3 billion,” Daly said earlier this month. “This is a risk which must be insured, especially in cases of season-ending or career-ending injuries.”
The NHL is expected to break for a little more than two weeks starting Feb. 8. Players will then fly charters to Sochi in time for a practice day before the tournament begins on Feb. 12, and then NHL games would be scheduled to resume on Feb. 25, two days after the gold medal game in Russia.
Amy Purdy made her name as a snowboardcross bronze medalist at the Sochi Paralympics and runner-up on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2014.
In September, she’ll combine both.
Purdy will perform as a dancer in the Rio Paralympic Opening Ceremony on Sept. 7, in addition to being an NBC reporter during the Games.
She was told her performance will be four to five minutes. On “Dancing with the Stars,” her performances were about 90 seconds, she said. She traveled to Rio for a week of rehearsals in July.
Purdy, 36, survived bacterial meningitis in 1999 but lost both her legs and later needed a kidney from her father at age 20.
“I’m most excited about the concept of this dance,” Purdy said. “Just the idea of man versus machine. A lot of times we feel really limited because of our prosthetics. But this dance, hopefully, will kind of shatter those borders a little bit and allow me to move my body in a way I haven’t done before.”
Purdy is an innovator. She built her own snowboard and is seen as instrumental in getting her sport into the Paralympic program beginning in 2014.
A model, she’s been in a Madonna music video, a Super Bowl commercial, ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue and competed on “The Amazing Race” in 2012.
MORE: Rio Paralympic broadcast schedule
Lindsey Vonn‘s episode of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” will air on NBC on Monday at 10 p.m. ET.
From NBC Universal:
“After roaring across crystal-clear waters in a speedboat, Bear and Lindsey must strip down and swim to shore before inching their way along the rugged coastline. After rappelling down a sheer rock wall, the two get inventive and use a spear-gun to traverse a hundred-foot deep chasm. With the sun setting, they collect a dinner of sea urchins and Bear challenges Lindsey to a swimming competition with hilarious results. Along the way Lindsey shares her journey of love, Olympic glory, and displays the focus and determination that has made her one of the most successful female athletes of all time.”
Vonn is returning from a Feb. 27 crash that left her with three significant left knee fractures.
With 76 career World Cup wins, she is 10 shy of the record held by Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark.
MORE: Lindsey Vonn wants to race men, retire in 2019