NHL could decide on future Olympic participation very soon: Bill Daly
In this Dec. 6, 2012, file photo, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, right, and deputy commissioner Bill Daly speak to reporters in New York. (AP / Mary Altaffer)
Stephen Whyno, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, February 11, 2014 7:47AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 11, 2014 11:02AM EST
SOCHI, Russia -- NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league could decide on potential participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics very soon.
Daly said Tuesday that meetings will be held after the Sochi Games are over as part of a determination of pros and cons.
"I do not anticipate it will take that long and we will have a broader discussion with the players' association on international competition and what we are doing internationally," Daly said at Bolshoy Ice Dome. "That discussion is underway so I would anticipate a quick resolution in respect to the Olympics, maybe six months."
Daly said there are "a lot of negatives" that go along with sending NHL players to the Olympics, including not having league control over the tournament. He praised the nature of it being a "best-on-best" competition.
Buzz has been building about the return of a World Cup of hockey, which would be a major money-maker for the league and provide more international hockey of this calibre.
But players have made it clear since arriving in Sochi that they want to continue participating in the Olympics, and that goes for PyeongChang four years from now.
"I would love another chance, I'll tell you that," Team Canada forward John Tavares said. "The Olympic Games is obviously a pinnacle of sports and it represents a lot. Certainly there are some tough challenges with it, being involved with the PA as much as I have I know this wasn't an easy process. But we feel as players it's important and we love to play, we love to represent our countries."
The NHL, NHLPA, IIHF and IOC only reached an agreement for Sochi participation this past summer.
In other hockey news, as NHL players take to the ice for their home countries during the Sochi Winter Games:
SHARP ON POINT FOR CANADA
Patrick Sharp has played the point on the power play with the Chicago Blackhawks for several years, so it didn't surprise him to be in that spot when Team Canada had its first two pre-Olympic practices.
"I feel it's something that I'm good at, I'm capable of doing it," Sharp said. "I'm out there with good players. I feel like when I play the point on the power play, it gets my involved in the game, it helps my five-on-five play, I handle the puck more, I'm involved in important shifts."
One thing Sharp and everyone on the power play must adjust to is a smaller offensive zone to work with. The international-sized ice is 15 feet wider east to west, but the goal line to end boards has more room and the blue-line is six feet closer than it is in the NHL.
That means the big ice is actually shrunk for man advantages.
"There's guys in your face everywhere," Sharp said. "It's really wide as you notice, but there's a little less time. But we've got such good players out there that they give you the puck in good spots so you're able to make plays."
PAVELEC WON'T DRESS VS. SWEDEN
Ondrej Pavelec figures to be the Czech Republic's starting goaltender in this tournament. But he won't be a factor in the opener against Sweden.
Pavelec of the Winnipeg Jets will be scratched as the third goalie for Wednesday's game. Alexander Salak and Jakub Kovar will dress instead.
SEDIN SEEKS TO BREAK SLUMP
Not having Henrik Sedin in Sochi hurts for Sweden's Olympic team, which will need contributions from his twin brother Daniel in order to enjoy some success.
Daniel Sedin hasn't scored a goal in his past 19 games, dating to Dec. 30. But this is a chance for him to play for Sweden and not the floundering Vancouver Canucks.
"I think the change of scenery comes at a great time," teammate Daniel Alfredsson said. "New players, a new atmosphere and everything. We know how valuable he can be scoring goals and making plays."
Sedin has been practising on a line with Nicklas Backstrom and Loui Eriksson. That's not exactly like having a twin brother at centre, but it's not a bad second option.
"I get a chance to play with Backstrom now and he's very similar to Henrik," Sedin said. "It should be an easy transition."
PACIORETTY NOT WORRIED
When Max Pacioretty slammed into the net Saturday night, it looked like the worst timing possible for the U.S. Olympian. Suffering an injury just hours before boarding a flight to Sochi would've been devastating for the Montreal Canadiens forward.
Instead, tests showed that Pacioretty was OK and he's no worse for the wear this week.
"It was a little bit of a scare," he said. "As soon as I got diagnosed during the game I knew things were going to be OK."
During the first two days of practice, Pacioretty skated on a line with Paul Stastny and Ryan Callahan.