Fish or cut bait. Phone or get out of the booth. Drop a deuce or get off the pot. However you want to put it, it’s time for the NHL and the IOC to decide whether or not NHL players will be a part of the next Olympics. By the end of this week, we’ll have a pretty good idea which way the wind is blowing as the major players are set to meet in New York.
The big news this week is the IIHF announcing they’ll cover travel and insurance costs for the players, as they have been doing. That’s about ten million dollars the NHL doesn’t have to worry about. Gary Bettman’s still non-committal at best when it comes to making the trip, but when push comes to shove, I don’t think there’s a choice. 2018 would mark 20 years of NHL participation in the Games, and while the country will never forget the plucky silver medal winning ’94 squad led by Petr Nedved and Wally Schreiber, fans have rightly come to expect best on best.
Bettman will still pl;ay hardball looking squeeze every penny he can out of the IOC as he should, but I think in the end, fan expectation, and the fact this year’s World Cup didn’t exactly set the hockey world’s pulse a-racin’ make a deal inevitable.