The 2014 Sochi Olympics could loom large

A lot of things are happening.  Malkin and Gonchar are back in the USSR.  Pens fans are sitting on season tickets.  The NHL owners and NHLPA are trying to negotiate a new CBA.  Okay, maybe not that last one.

The pending exodus of Russian players heading back home to play in the KHL has reminded us of something.  Remember at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 when Gary Bettman refused to solidify the NHL's participation in the 2014 Winter Olympics?  Bahaha — They are in Sochi, Russia.

Alex Ovechkin had come out around that time saying something to the effect of, "If there's anyone who won't let me play in those Olympics, see ya."  Don't look now, but those Sochi Olympics are less than two years away.

If the lockout wipes out the entire 2012-2013 season (and that becomes more and more likely every day) and the NHL finally figures their shit out in time for a 2013-2014 season to exist, the Sochi Olympics will come into play somehow, somewhere in the negotiations.