Winter Olympics hockey: Gary Bettman, Bill Daly discuss 2018 NHL participation

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 Winter Olympics aren't even over yet and there is already talk about whether or not the NHL will participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

SB Nation 2014 Winter Olympic Coverage

Now that we're into the home stretch of the 2014 Olympic hockey tournament it's time to start looking ahead to the 2018 tournament and everybody's favorite talking point -- will the NHL be back?

All of the key decision makers were talking about it on Tuesday, and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman seemed to echo the timeframe deputy commissioner Bill Daly mentioned last week when he talked about a decision coming down sometime over the next six months. Bettman made it clear, however, that it is not something that will be discussed while the games in Sochi are taking place, while adding that he did not want to get into the pros and cons of NHL participation, noting that they have already been repeatedly discussed.

Daly, however, had some interesting things to say about those pros and cons, via Nick Cotsonika of Yahoo! Sports.

This is the fifth time the NHL has participated in the Winter Olympics, appearing in every one since the 1998 games in Nagano, Japan. The 2018 games will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Bettman also said that none of the decision making process moves forward if the players do not want to play, adding that if the players ever said they did not want to go the league would never make them.

The NHL involvement in the Olympics seems to be a success among players and fans alike, but it's easy to understand why owners and executives (such as Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider) would have some concerns, not only because the season gets shut down for a few weeks, but also because of the risk of injury to a key player.

Along with future Olympic talk, Bettman also mentioned the possibility of bringing back the World Cup of hockey, while Daly and NHLPA leader Donald Fehr mentioned the possibility of having both the World Cup and NHL participation in the Olympics.

The World Cup was last played in 2004.

More on the Winter Olympics:

SB Nation's Winter Olympics medal tracker | Meet Team USA

Americans make history in figure skating | Canadians see a fix

Russians still mad, take hockey protest to US Embassy | #Lookit

Remembering the 1980 Miracle on Ice | Longform: Team USA's disaster in 1984

Hockey: Men’s schedule | All 12 men’s rosters | USA roster analysis

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