What's Buzzing:

NHL won't discuss 2018 Winter Games while in Sochi

AP - Sports
NHL won't discuss 2018 Winter Games while in Sochi
.

View gallery

SOCHI, Russia (AP) -- The possibility of the NHL players competing in the 2018 Olympics won't be discussed by the league during the Sochi Games.

''It's not anything we're focused on dealing with right now,'' Commissioner Gary Bettman said.

Bettman was joined at a news conference Tuesday by NHL Players' Association Executive Director Don Fehr and International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel.

''There is nothing like an Olympic gold medal in the life of an athlete,'' Fasel said. ''Nothing.''

Then Bettman interjected: ''Except for winning the Stanley Cup.''

The league and the union have allowed their players to be in the Olympics since 1998, creating an elite hockey tournament that has become one of the most popular events at the Olympics.

The 2018 Winter Games will be in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and no one knows if NHL players will be there.

''None of this moves forward, if it moves forward at all, is if the players don't want to play,'' Bettman said. ''If the players ever said, we're not interested, we're not going to force them to go.''

If NHL players ever did say that, it would be stunning. They all seem to want to keep having an opportunity to play for gold on the world's stage every four years.

''The Olympic Games is obviously a pinnacle of sports and it represents a lot,'' Canadian forward John Tavares said. ''I think it's important we continue to try and find a way to (make it) work. We certainly enjoy coming as players.''

While the NHL and NHLPA said a decision about 2018 could be made within six months, both parties didn't want to be tied to a timetable.

''We'll get a sense of what people are thinking over the next 12, 16 months,'' Fehr said after the news conference. ''We have our board meeting this summer, and I'm sure it'll be a topic of some discussion. And then the players either at that point will be able to say, 'This is what we want to do, go try and make it happen.' Or, they're going to say, 'We want to think about it a little more.'''

International competition in hockey isn't going away, but it might not happen at future Olympics because NHL owners don't like for at least a couple of reasons. Some NHL owners are not in favor of freezing their season for more than two weeks when they have less competition for fans in the United States. They're also wary of putting their well-paid players at risk of injury while playing for their country.

''I believe in the not too distant future the NHL and NHLPA will be in a position to talk about other international initiatives that we're discussing, including bringing back the World Cup,'' Bettman said. ''We see international competition on the horizon. It's really just a question of what the format will be.''

---

Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: https://twitter.com/larrylage

View Comments (9)
  • Devils-Rangers Preview

    The New York Rangers value defenseman Ryan McDonagh's leadership just as much as his contributions on the ice, and losing him for any period of time would leave a major hole in the lineup. The 26-year-old captain is in danger of missing his first … More »

    AP - Sports - 29 minutes ago
  • Okposo scores 3 as Isles rout Oilers 8-1

    Okposo scores 3 as Isles rout Oilers 8-1

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Kyle Okposo scored a hat trick after the Islanders opened a commanding early lead with three first-period goals as New York routed the last-place Edmonton Oilers 8-1 on Sunday. … More »

    AP - Sports - 44 minutes ago
  • Habs top 'Canes on Andrighetto's SO goal

    Habs top 'Canes on Andrighetto's SO goal

    Ben Scrivens made big saves all weekend, helping the Montreal Canadiens to a weekend sweep. Scrivens finished with 34 saves and stopped all five Carolina players in the shootout, lifting the Canadiens to a 2-1 victory over the Hurricanes on Sunday. … More »

    AP - Sports - 2 hours 14 minutes ago
  • Andrighetto shootout goal lift Canadiens over Hurricanes 2-1 to sweep weekend

    Andrighetto shootout goal lift Canadiens over Hurricanes 2-1 to sweep weekend

    The Montreal Canadiens may have found themselves a goalie. For a second game in a row, the acrobatic Scrivens allowed only one goal as Montreal downed the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 on Sven Andrighetto's shootout tally on Sunday afternoon. Scrivens … More »

    The Canadian Press - 2 hours 39 minutes ago
  • Bruins' Subban fractures larynx, stable

    BOSTON (AP) -- Boston Bruins prospect Malcolm Subban is in stable condition after fracturing his larynx during an American Hockey League game on Saturday. … More »

    AP - Sports - 2 hours 49 minutes ago