According to a report from respected Sport-Express journalist Alexei Shevchenko by way of KHL insider Slava Malamud, Russian NHLers have been told by the league that there is a backup schedule in place should the league reach an agreement with the IOC for participation in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
This news, while hardly an indication that a deal is imminent, just goes to show the validity behind statements NHL commission Gary Bettman made earlier this spring. When asked about the potential of re-negotiating a deal, Bettman maintained that it was not an “open issue” and that the matter is “officially closed”. But, if that’s the case, why draft up an alternate schedule that allows for Olympic participation?
As per usual, fans and analysts speculate that the NHL is simply saying one thing to the public, while simultaneously scheming behind the scenes to turn things in their favor. While this is typically frowned upon, we’re willing to look the other way if it means we’ll see NHLers at the Olympics this winter.
What do you think? Where there’s smoke, there’s fire? Or is this just more rumor and speculation with no real basis?