The Russian Red Herring(s)
Look, I enjoy the Olympics, both winter and summer, so I don’t want to bag too hard on them, but that being said, I have some serious reservations with (exorbitantly well) paid professionals promoting (largely unpaid) amateur athletics.
If these professional promoters really want to promote amateur athletics, why can’t they, like the athletes, do so for free, or at least a comparatively similar financial reward? A tad too seemly to me, all in all.
And, in many ways, this money issue is the root of the current NHL stance on the upcoming Sochi games in Russia.
But not the way they’re spinning it.
It’s not, as Burke is trying to spin, a matter of letting the players get their slice (albeit, he’s right, considering what the IOC makes on the backs “amateur” athletes. These folks live a behind the scenes life of obscene largess, while publicly promoting the purity of the amateur games).
And no, as argued by Daly, it’s not all about protecting the investment of the NHL clubs in their contracted players, all tho, this is at least some part of it.
This is about leveraging a negotiating position.
With the NHLPA.
With the IIHF.
With the KHL.
All three of those parties have huge interest in having NHL contracted players participating in the upcoming winter games, for varying reason, and, unfortunately for them, the NHL holds the hammer on whether or not this happens. Also unfortunate for these above parties is that they either are, or will soon be, negotiating contracts with the NHL, and unlike the past winter games, held in NA, the future games in Sochi are not a “must do” for the NHL.
But it will prove difficult to hold this hammer over the heads of all three parties, simultaneously. In fact, the NHL may have to pick who they’ll target concessions from in return for their endorsement of NHL participation at Soji.
Neither the KHL, or IIHF is about to cut a deal, offering concessions, unless, prior to an agreement with the NHLPA, the NHL guarantees their ascent to Oly participation. Doing so will remove this “ace in the hole” from the NHL’s hand when they sit down with the NHLPA. Conversely, if the NHL endorses Oly participation with the NHLPA, the IIHF, and KHL, will no longer have this threat hanging over their heads while negotiating transfer agreements.
Let the games begin!
In Russia, and/or North America.