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There were some rumours the NHLPA would agree to the 19-year-old draft (with a first-round exception for 18-year-olds) in exchange for Olympic participation. Alas, it proved to be false hope, with multiple sources denying that was the case.
The NHLPA is steadfast in the belief it should not have to give up anything to go. The Olympics matter to the players, now an important—and appreciated—part of being a professional cheap hockey jerseys player. With owners like Ted Leonsis publicly revealing he will let his stars go, the union feels it’s in a stronger bargaining position.
There was supposed to be some kind of Olympic discussion in the near future, but that meeting was cancelled at the end of last week. There is nothing scheduled, as far as I know.
There were plenty of rumours the players would refuse to play the Los Angeles/Vancouver exhibition games next season in China if Olympic participation wasn’t agreed to by now. According to multiple sources, those games are happening no matter what occurs with South Korea. That’s the right decision. Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. I’m pro-Olympics, but if you don’t go, don’t hurt other growth potential.
I’ve pointed out before that 2014 participation was not settled until July 2013. But, last week, one source mentioned the “handshake” was in February and it took several months to finish the negotiation. This process is not comparable to that one.
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Again, though, I come back to the fact the commissioner could have killed this already. He tried to extend the CBA, which didn’t work. What else is out there?
This is me talking, but I wonder if it’s the U.S. TV deal. NBC signed a 10-year contract in April 2011. That ends before the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, a Games that will be shown on NBC (That network owns the rights until 2032).
I could see Bettman thinking that NBC benefits from the NHLers being there, so what tangible benefit could NBC offer in return? A new broadcast package would certainly qualify. What I can’t tell you is how The Peacock feels about the idea.
It would be a big victory for him, especially as the salary cap stagnates. It wouldn’t be a player concession, but a good TV deal eases that concern.
Again, it’s only conjecture. But, if the players really won’t concede anything and the league is really serious about getting something—do you see another answer?