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NHL participation in 2014?


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It will be decided by next summer. It will be part of the new CBA negotiations. The NHLPA wants to go to Sochi, but it is the league that is dragging their feet. I am guessing that there will be NHL participation. The owners are all Canadian and American and they know that their respective countries performance will be most limited by the lack of NHL participation.

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A piece of paper isn't going to stop the Russians from playing in the Olympics even if the NHL says no. Ovechkin and Malkin will break their contracts if they have to. At best, they sit out a few games, take a pay cut and suck it up. At worst, they leave for Russia for good. Neither of which is good for the NHL.

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A piece of paper isn't going to stop the Russians from playing in the Olympics even if the NHL says no. Ovechkin and Malkin will break their contracts if they have to. At best, they sit out a few games, take a pay cut and suck it up. At worst, they leave for Russia for good. Neither of which is good for the NHL.

It's one thing to threaten it, another to actually do it. Bailing out on their teammates is more significant than the money.

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It's one thing to threaten it, another to actually do it. Bailing out on their teammates is more significant than the money.

Given that Ovy and Malkin have given their notice 4 years ahead of time, I think their teammates will understand if their Russian teammates skip town for a couple weeks, to play in a home country Olympics. If not, tough.

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Given that Ovy and Malkin have given their notice 4 years ahead of time, I think their teammates will understand if their Russian teammates skip town for a couple weeks, to play in a home country Olympics. If not, tough.

I don't agree. Bailing out on your contract and your team to go off and play the other countries' scrubs in the Olympics isn't going to sit well in the locker room. Not to mention the fanbase, ownership, coaches, and, of course, Don Cherry.

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I don't agree. Bailing out on your contract and your team to go off and play the other countries' scrubs in the Olympics isn't going to sit well in the locker room. Not to mention the fanbase, ownership, coaches, and, of course, Don Cherry.

The 4 years' notice is going to make a huge difference. Everyone knows it's coming, no one is going to be surprised it happens. The locker room is full of buddies, they'll understand. Players already miss games to witness their kids' births, you think anyone in the locker room will object to the Russians playing for Russia in Russia? Especially after the NHL just participated in a Canadian Olympics?

Ownership and coaches, even if they aren't happy, won't publicly condemn their star players. If the NHL slaps a fine on the player, the team will pay it for a player like Ovechkin and Malkin. And who is Don Cherry to speak? He will bash Russians whether they go or not.

If it gets too unbearable, the Russians will just leave for the KHL and get paid millions there. The NHL needs Ovechkin and Malkin a lot more than they need the NHL.

And it wouldn't be as simple as missing a few weeks. There would be breach of contract lawsuits, numerous other legal issues, personal issues and exile in the KHL.

Contracts are broken all the time. If the NHL wants to file a lawsuit against 2 of the top 3 players in the NHL, they are shooting themselves in the foot. Not to mention that their respective teams won't be supporting any lawsuit against that player. These aren't just any players. These are the best players in the NHL. They are in a position of power here.

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The Good News:

Olympic hockey significantly increases the audience for hockey in the US. The US/Canada 2010 final was one of the highest rated non-football team sports event of the last decade. Bigger than the World Series. Bigger than the NBA finals. Bigger than the NCAA Basketball finals. And it goes without saying, far bigger than the Stanley Cub. The Olympics are about the only time non-diehards will watch hockey.

It didn't hurt that this was one of the greatest hockey games you could imagine. Last second shot to send the game into overtime? NHL's wonderkid scores the winning goal to give the host nation the gold is so desperately craved? You couldn't script this stuff. Coincidence or not, NHL ratings have been on an uptick since. The 2011 Stanly Cup game 7 was the highest rated since cable.

There is simply no better marketing for the NHL than Olympic hockey. Gary Bettman would have to be a complete moron to not find a way to get the NHL players to Sochi.

The Bad News:

Gary Bettman is a complete moron.

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The Good News:

Olympic hockey significantly increases the audience for hockey in the US. The US/Canada 2010 final was one of the highest rated non-football team sports event of the last decade. Bigger than the World Series. Bigger than the NBA finals. Bigger than the NCAA Basketball finals. And it goes without saying, far bigger than the Stanley Cub. The Olympics are about the only time non-diehards will watch hockey.

It didn't hurt that this was one of the greatest hockey games you could imagine. Last second shot to send the game into overtime? NHL's wonderkid scores the winning goal to give the host nation the gold is so desperately craved? You couldn't script this stuff. Coincidence or not, NHL ratings have been on an uptick since. The 2011 Stanly Cup game 7 was the highest rated since cable.

There is simply no better marketing for the NHL than Olympic hockey. Gary Bettman would have to be a complete moron to not find a way to get the NHL players to Sochi.

The Bad News:

Gary Bettman is a complete moron.

Bettman is just representing the views of the owners. I kind of understand it, because it doesn't generate revenue, and it's a headache as far as scheduling goes. The dilemma is that the Olympics do the most good for the NHL when the USA has a good team. Canadians are going to watch regardless, but casual fans in the US generally watch only when their team is good. Sweden vs. Finland for the gold medal is not going to help the NHL. Even if it's not the most apparent business decision, my opinion is that they should do it because they know it's what the core fan base wants, and the core fan base is really what fuels a lot of the revenue.

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And the thing is, the US probably has one of their strongest corp of players in their history. And the parity betweehn Russia, Sweden, Canada and the USA is probably at its strongest.

I think the biggest thing is that the players overwhelmingly want to go. So they will push for this in the new CBA.

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Agreed. Bettman is a jerk--loathed in Canada. And the Canadian players will totally support the Russians on principle. I think they'll be in Sochi; Pyeonchang might be the Games where they're absent, Although Bettman might be gone by then.

Olympic hockey is exciting because of the players involved, teammates playing as adversaries representing their countries.

As for TV, NBC rarely shows anything live anyway ;)

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Agreed. Bettman is a jerk--loathed in Canada. And the Canadian players will totally support the Russians on principle. I think they'll be in Sochi; Pyeonchang might be the Games where they're absent, Although Bettman might be gone by then.

Olympic hockey is exciting because of the players involved, teammates playing as adversaries representing their countries.

As for TV, NBC rarely shows anything live anyway ;)

The new CBA will probably be until 2018 or 2019, so if they go to one, they will go to both. And if the USOC truly hopes to land 2022, I am sure they will be in contact with the NHL about their desire to have them play through. I forget if it was Carrion, Pound or Fasel himself, but one of them said that the Olympics will not be treated like a menu, the NHL will have a committement to all games, or none. Hence why they went to Nagano, instead of starting to SLC.

Going to the Olympics is in the best interest of the NHL, the countries, the sport of hockey itself and the IIHF to have the very best there. If you have followed hockey over the last 15 years, you would see the vast improvement made by countries like Norway, Denmark, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Germany. It is in the best interest of all to make sure hockey is a focal point of the Olympics and to continue to push the development of hockey globally.

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I don't see how the NHL skips out on 2014. You have the league's most prominent Russian players already saying they're playing no matter what the NHL decides. You have TV contracts where the same company owns the rights to the NHL as well as the Olympics for the next decade, and I think that's a very key selling point. And you have the potential PR nightmare of following up perhaps the most exciting gold medal hockey game anyone under the age of 30 is likely to see in their entire lifetimes by giving up on 2014. Don't see it happening.

Yes, the timezone differences will make the Sochi tournament less accessible than what we experienced from Vancouver, but that comes with the territory. If the NHL were to decide not to send players to Sochi, the sport and the league as a whole is going to get buried on a national stage during the Olympics (again, remember who broadcasts these games.. think they'll care at all about regular season NHL games that month?) and you have to answer for whatever star players skip out on their teams. As much as the owners may resist, I think they all collectively have to realize what a bad idea it's going to be to hold their players and the league back from the Olympics.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ok so basically Bell and CBC (Canadian TV) can't agree on a TV deal with the IOC to broadcast Sochi and Rio. Among the many sticking points is the Canadian networks want to offer two numbers- a higher number if the NHL participates in Sochi, and a lower number if the NHL doesn't go. We won't know for months if the NHL goes or not, but the IOC says this is unacceptable. Who is right?

Canadian TV trying to deal with IOC

Two senior industry officials said Bell Media and the CBC offered about $70 million for the Canadian rights to Sochi and Rio — less than half what the IOC received for Vancouver and London. The IOC was prepared for a lower bid this time because of the premium a Vancouver Games meant for a Canadian broadcaster.

Another reason why Bell Media and the CBC bid low is concern that National Hockey League players won’t participate in Sochi, which would be a TV ratings killer. At least 22 million Canadians tuned in to the men’s hockey gold-medal game in Vancouver.

The broadcasters asked the IOC for permission to submit two offers — one with NHL players participating in Sochi and one without. Timmo Lumme, who oversees IOC marketing, told the Star that wasn’t acceptable.

It may not be clear for months whether the NHL will participate in future Olympics. Most players want to, and the NHL has been involved since 1998. But the NHL and its players union will negotiate participation as part of collective bargaining, with the current contract set to expire in September.

The NHL is also upset that the IOC doesn’t share profits.

“I’d put it at less than 50-50 that the NHL players will be back,” said one senior TV executive involved in the negotiations with the IOC.

A CBC spokesperson confirmed the network is pursuing a bid with Bell Media, but declined to elaborate. A Canadian Olympic Committee spokesperson also declined to comment.

Canadian IOC member Richard Pound, who used to be in charge of Olympic marketing, said he wouldn’t be shocked if the broadcaster-IOC showdown resulted in no domestic broadcaster.

“It almost happened when I was in charge,” he said.

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  • 2 weeks later...

CBC and Bell want the Olympics. A deal doesn't need to be done until the end of the year and by then it will be known if the NHL is going to Sochi. Rio is a good timezone and Russia will probably provide the same bounce that China did. I just think that because Bell has spent so much money recently, they want to minimize the damage, especially since they overbid so badly for 2010-2012

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