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Rumblings: Will NHL players be in 2018 Olympics?

One year ago today, the Olympic men’s hockey tournament began in Sochi, an event that once again provided memorable moments on a global scale as Team Canada eventually defended its gold medal.

The question that remains unanswered is whether we’ll see NHL players in South Korea in 2018.

There still haven’t been any meaningful discussions with the IOC on that matter.

"Future Olympic participation is something we will need to focus on at an appropriate time, both with the IOC and with the players' association,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.com Wednesday. "There continues to be a lot of moving pieces, including the recently announced World Cup of Hockey scheduled for September of 2016. That tournament and its success may not be determinative with respect to the decision we ultimately make on the Olympics, but it certainly will play a part in the overall discussion."

Maybe I’m reading too much into things, but it seems like all the comments that have been generated of late from the deputy commissioner and the big man himself, Gary Bettman, open the door just a crack to the possibility of no Olympic participation, that perhaps the World Cup is the replacement vehicle for best-on-best hockey.

Then again, it’s also wise for the NHL to send that type of public message to the IOC, so the Olympic organization understands it needs to step up if it wants to keep NHLers in the fold.

All of which brings us to the players. They have always wanted to play in the Olympics and that hasn’t changed.

"Participation in the Olympics has always been important for NHL players," NHLPA executive director Don Fehr told ESPN.com Thursday. "We look forward to an enhanced series of international hockey events, including the Olympics, provided, as in the past, that an appropriate agreement is reached with all relevant parties."