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Polina Edmunds ’50-50′ on competing at U.S. Championships

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Polina Edmunds has struggled with a bone bruise in her right foot for about a full year, and the injury could keep her out of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in one month.

“The chances of me competing at Nationals, they’re probably 50-50 right now,” Edmunds said in a phone interview Friday. “I really, really would like to, and because I’ve been working so hard all season to be ready for nationals, and my programs, I really love them this year, they’re beautiful. But my 100 percent focus is for next season.

“We want to make sure all the red flags [with my foot] are gone for next season. It’s really important for next season because it’s an Olympic season. Everything that we’re doing is fully focused on the 2018 season.”

Edmunds, the youngest U.S. participant at the Sochi Olympics at age 15, last competed at the January 2016 U.S. Championships, topping the short program and finishing second overall.

A few weeks prior to those nationals, she began breaking in new skates that may have caused the bone bruise. The foot was an annoyance — rather than a pain — so she switched back to old skates for nationals and then continued breaking in the new ones afterward.

But the foot problems persisted, and she pulled out of her remaining events last season, including the world championships. Edmunds, who finished ninth in Sochi and eighth at the 2014 and 2015 Worlds, missed a global competition for the first time in her senior career.

Edmunds was cleared to train in August, when she attended U.S. Figure Skating’s Champs Camp in Colorado Springs. She continued training for most of the early fall, while starting classes at Santa Clara University near her San Jose home.

But the foot had not fully recovered, so she pulled out before her fall events. Edmunds underwent an MRI in late November, which confirmed the bone bruise remained.

“It’s been kind of off-and-on all season,” she said. “There’s less pain for sure than there was in February, so it’s not as extreme.”

Since the MRI, Edmunds has reeled back to let her foot rest. She’s waiting for doctors to give the go-ahead to train fully again.

She plans to decide in early January if she will compete in the U.S. Championships from Jan. 19-21 in Kansas City. If Edmunds skips nationals, she believes she won’t compete at all this season. She would not want to petition for a spot on the world championships team.

Edmunds’ confidence remains despite the absence.

“To get thrust in at this moment, I think if I did two clean programs I would have a very good chance of winning, just like any other season,” she said.

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USA Hockey to start reaching out to potential replacement players

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USA Hockey will begin reaching out to “alternate players” to determine their interest in playing for the U.S. at the women’s world championship next week amid a potential boycott by its national team.

The contact is taking place in the event a resolution cannot be reached between USA Hockey and the women’s national team in a wage dispute.

“It’s important for everyone to understand clearly that our objective is to have the players we named as the U.S. women’s national team be the ones that compete in the world championship,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, in a statement. “Productive conversations have taken place this week and are ongoing in our collective efforts to reach a resolution.”

The alternate players are in the professional NWHL and college, according to USA Today, a report that USA Hockey would not confirm.

U.S. captain Meghan Duggan has said every player in the U.S. national team player pool, plus under-18 national team players, committed to not playing at worlds unless the wage dispute is resolved.

“We are confident that they [potential replacement players] would choose not to play,” the U.S. players said in a statement.

The world championship tournament starts March 31 in Plymouth, Mich.

As of Thursday evening, no resolution has come between USA Hockey and its women’s national team. They met formally on Monday for more than 10 hours, with both sides calling it productive.

“We ask that they approve the original agreement that, the players believed, was acceptable to both parties after Monday’s meeting,” the players said in a statement. “Unless there is an agreement, the players remain resolved to bypass the defense of the world championship.”

Neither side has said when the next meeting will take place.

On Tuesday, USA Hockey said it postponed a pre-worlds camp that was to run through next Tuesday in Traverse City, Mich., and canceled a scheduled Friday exhibition against Finland.

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MORE: NHL asked for decision on Olympics by end of April

NHL asked for decision on Olympics by end of April

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International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel tells The Associated Press he needs to know by the end of April whether NHL players will be cleared to play in the South Korea Olympics next year.

NHL team owners have made it clear they don’t want to stop their season again for the Winter Games and put their stars at risk of injury. The reluctance has come up before and yet the NHL has participated in the Olympics since 1998. This time, however, there seems to be an impasse.

The head of the NHL Players Association, Donald Fehr, says the players want to participate and hopes the league will take advantage of the chance to market the game in Asia.

However, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says without “material change to the current status quo, NHL players will not be participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics.”

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MORE: 2018 Olympic hockey groups set