While NHL players are in Sochi preparing for the Olympic schedule to begin, league officials are already working on a decision regarding participation for the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea.
According to the Globe and Mail, a decision between the NHL and the Players' Association should come within the six months.
"I can tell you, (a decision) shouldn't take all that long," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Globe and Mail. "It's part of a broader discussion with the players association about what we're doing internationally. That discussion is under way. I would anticipate a fairly quick resolution with respect to the Olympics - six months."
The decision to participate in Sochi came just eight months before the Games due to the lockout that shortened the 2012-23 season to 48 games.
Daly added that success at these Games will be determined on the competitiveness of the tournament and injuries to players.
"Player injury is an important factor. In Torino, in 2006, we had a couple of key players get injured and not be able to help their NHL teams down the stretch and that left a sour taste in the heads of a lot of our owners. In Vancouver, we were almost injury free, so it was a totally different experience," Daly told the Globe and Mail. "There are a lot of metrics that go on in the Olympic Games and we'll do a post-Olympic report, but I'm not sure there's anything that's absolute in terms of - well, if we hit so many eyeballs, we're coming back or not coming back. It's going to be more of a touch and feel thing."
The report indicates the International Ice Hockey Federation would like to make inroads in the Asian market but Daly doesn't believe the NHL would have as much to gain in the near future.
"You're never going to ignore the Asian market," added Daly, "it's very important. But I also don't view it as a realistic short-term objective to make an impact in the Asian market. It's more of a long-term objective for the sport generally."
While Daly concedes the players enjoy participating in the Olympics and there is no bigger stage for the sport, the league would prefer to bring back the World Cup of Hockey as a best-on-best tournament and hold it on their terms.
"The players who get to participate really enjoy the opportunity and the players who don't get the opportunity enjoy the time off in February. So from a players' perspective, it's a very player friendly event," Daly told the Globe and Mail.
"Having said that, there are a lot of negatives that come along with the Olympics. The fact is, we're guests here. It's not our tournament. In terms of making it as good as it can be, we really don't have control over that. There are positives and negatives, with everything."