NHL to make Olympic announcement ‘in coming days’

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The NHL and NHL Players’ Association will announce a final decision on Olympic participation “in the coming days,” according to a league press release Sunday.

While Olympic participation was previously agreed upon, the coronavirus pandemic caused reconsideration.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said the decision lies with the players — unless the league’s regular season “is in trouble because of COVID.”

“Let’s assume a number of teams came down with major outbreaks and in effect we were missing lots and lots of games that had to be rescheduled and it became clear that we couldn’t reschedule without doing something else, including using some portion of the [Olympic] break,” Bettman said Dec. 10.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly interjected.

“We have an agreement that any material disruption to our season would certainly give us cause to withdraw,” he said.

Sunday’s release noted that 27 games have been postponed as of Saturday, with at least 12 more games postponed through Thursday.

Erik Karlsson, a star defenseman for Sweden and the San Jose Sharks, said last week that he probably would not participate under the current circumstances.

Others expressed concern about Olympic participation, with Vegas Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner the one notable to say he definitely will not play.

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