Chicago Sun-Times

NHL un­likely to play in 2018 Olympics

- BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Re­porter

LOS AN­GE­LES — It’s look­ing in­creas­ingly un­likely that the NHL will par­tic­i­pate in the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchan­g, South Korea.

Com­mis­sioner Gary Bettman said the topic was dis­cussed for “about 10 sec­onds” at the Board of Gov­er­nors meet­ing Satur­day, and deputy com­mis­sioner Bill Daly told re­porters, “As of right now, there’s not a will.” The NHL has sent its play­ers to ev­ery Olympics since the 1998 games in Nagano, Ja­pan.

Even though the In­ter­na­tional Ice Hockey Fed­er­a­tion has fig­ured out a way to pay the NHL’s costs ( which the league cited as its ini­tial con­cern), the own­ers still are re­luc­tant to put their sea­son on hold for two weeks again. But the play­ers still want to play.

“As a proud Amer­i­can, you want to play for your coun­try any chance you get,” Pa­trick Kane said. “I think a lot of us play­ers would be ec­static if they said we were going to the Olympics. But at the same time, you un­der­stand the own­ers’ side of things, too, you know? You’re tak­ing time away for two weeks of the sea­son [ and] you’re pay­ing a lot of money to guys who could end up going and get­ting hurt.”

Skills on dis­play

The high­light of the skills com­pe­ti­tion Satur­day was Ari­zona goal­tender Mike Smith scor­ing from the goal line into a “Shoot The Puck”- style open­ing in the far net. But the Black­hawks ac­quit­ted them­selves well in limited ac­tion.

Kane took eight shots to knock out the four tar­gets in the ac­cu­racy event ( Sid­ney Crosby edged out Aus­ton Matthews to win). And in the skills re­lay, Dun­can Keith scored on his one- timer on the first at­tempt, Jonathan Toews nailed four passes on six at­tempts and Kane had a clean stick- han­dling run. Edmonton’s Con­nor McDavid won the fastest skater event, and Mon­treal’s Shea We­ber suc­cess­fully de­fended his ti­tle in the hard­est- shot com­pe­ti­tion.

He’s a Belieber

Kane was the only ac­tive player to par­tic­i­pate in the celebrity game be­fore the skills com­pe­ti­tion. Also play­ing? Pop star Justin Bieber, who even got smeared along the glass in the crease by Chris Pronger and scored an empty- net goal in the fi­nal minute.

Kane ad­mit­ted that he’s a Bieber fan.

Coach­ing change

With Colum­bus’ John Tor­torella at­tend­ing to a fam­ily mat­ter, Wayne Gret­zky will coach the Metropoli­tan Di­vi­sion in the All­Star three- on- three tour­na­ment Sun­day.

 ?? | GETTY IM­AGES ?? Pa­trick Kane took eight shots to knock out his four tar­gets in the ac­cu­racy event in the All- Star Skills Com­pe­ti­tion. Sid­ney Crosby won the event.
| GETTY IM­AGES Pa­trick Kane took eight shots to knock out his four tar­gets in the ac­cu­racy event in the All- Star Skills Com­pe­ti­tion. Sid­ney Crosby won the event.

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