NHL Olympics proposal set to be rejected by players

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The NHL Players’ Association is expected to turn down an informal NHL offer that would send NHL players to the 2018 Olympics in exchange for extending the collective bargaining agreement for three years, hockey insider Darren Dreger said Wednesday.

The NHLPA response to last month’s NHL proposal is expected Wednesday, Dreger said.

NHL officials have been tepid about taking the usual Olympic break for the Winter Games in South Korea, while at the same time exploring an exhibition game in China next year. Beijing will host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

“Certainly from a players’ perspective, and some very influential player agents around the National Hockey League as well, they’re perplexed, to be honest, as to why the owners aren’t buying into this idea of growing the game from a global perspective,” Dreger said (2:15 mark of above video). “Why wouldn’t you go into South Korea? Why wouldn’t you embrace the opportunities that present, perhaps, by going into China?”

Previously, NHL insider Bob McKenzie said the players view Olympic participation as a benefit, but not a tangible benefit to close off CBA negotiating rights for three years.

A resolution on whether the NHL will take a break in its 2017-18 season to allow players to go to the Pyeongchang Olympics is expected by January.

International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel said last month that his confidence that the NHL will send players to the Olympics remains at 50 percent, the same as it has been for months.

For the 2014 Sochi Olympics, NHL participation wasn’t decided until July 2013.

MORE: 2018 Olympic men’s hockey groups set

MLB Players Association head says ‘continuing dialogue’ about 2020 Olympics

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SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — The head of the Major League Baseball Players Association says it will be difficult for big leaguers to participate at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Baseball returns to Olympics after a 12-year absence for the Tokyo Games, which are scheduled for July 24-Aug. 9 — in the middle of baseball’s season.

“There are challenges with the schedule, and there are challenges with major leaguers being involved,” Tony Clark said Thursday at the Baltimore Orioles’ spring training camp.

In 2008, players on major league 25-man rosters and disabled lists on June 26 were ineligible to play. The U.S. roster included 17 players from Triple-A, seven from Double-A and college pitcher Stephen Strasburg, now with the Washington Nationals.

“It doesn’t mean that we are not continuing to have dialogue. We have going back. We will going forward. Where we land, I don’t know,” Clark said. “One of the things we were able to discuss during this round of bargaining were some additional flexibility in the schedule moving forward. Maybe there are some opportunities for a broader discussion than there have been a year ago. We’ll have to wait and see. We haven’t had that kind of substantive sit down yet.”

Many players are preparing for the fourth edition of World Baseball Classic, an international tournament launched in 2006 that is co-owned by Major League Baseball and the union. Clark hopes to see a fifth edition in 2021.

“I see no reason at this point why it wouldn’t,” he said. “I’m hopeful it continues, understanding that the world we live in four years from now may be different from the one we’re in now.”

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MORE: Some 2020 Olympic baseball games set 150 miles from Tokyo

Lance Armstrong’s $100 million trial set for November

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 20:  Lance Armstrong (C) heads out with cyclists on December 20, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. The disgraced Tour de France rider is in New Zealand to film a commercial, and put out a call on social media for local riders to join him on a ride along the Auckland Waterfront.  (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lance Armstrong‘s $100 million legal fight with the federal government has been set for a November trial.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper on Thursday set a Nov. 6 trial start in Washington. Armstrong’s legal team had asked to postpone trial until 2018 because of a potential scheduling conflict.

The government wants Armstrong to pay back the $32 million the U.S. Postal Service paid his team for sponsorship, plus triple damages.

Armstrong’s former teammate Floyd Landis initially filed the whistle-blower case in 2010, accusing him of violating the sponsorship contract by taking performance-enhancing drugs. The government joined the case in 2013 after Armstrong admitted cheating and was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and 2000 Olympic bronze medal.

Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for cheating, could collect up to 25 percent of damages awarded.

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MORE: Armstrong intrigued by ultra marathon, obstacle-course races