The NHL is "highly likely, just short of a foregone conclusion" to participate in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, according to a report from TSN's Bob McKenzie (via ProHockeyTalk).

"The National Hockey League will be shutting down for 16 days in the middle of next season to allow its palyers to participate in the Olympics," McKenzie reports.

McKenzie states the deal is yet to be finalized because the NHL and NHLPA would like "a better deal from the International Ice Hockey Federation and the International Olympic Committee."

"I'm really confident that the NHL players will be in Sochi," IOC president Rene Fasel recently said in an interview with Olympics website AroundTheRings.com. "We know the players want to be there."

"We are really confident that the Olympic spirit will prevail and that the best players will be in Sochi."

A meeting is expected to occur in mid-February between the NHL, NHLPA, IIHF and IOC and The Hockey News' Jason Kay believes May would be a "reasonable target date" for a decision to come.

Awards won't be in Vegas
The NHL will not be holding its 2013 award show in Las Vegas this season, according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun (via ProHockeyTalk).

Despite having two more years on its current contract to host the awards in Vegas, the NHL will take a hiatus this season because of the lockout-shortned year. With a lack of June dates available because of the Stanley Cup playoffs pushing into that month, the NHL will be forced to go a different route.

The league will continue to honor its contract for next season's award show.

As of now, there are no plans to replace the Las Vegas award show, but LeBrun believes possible replacement ideas include a "made-for-TV event in July" or a "preseason gala in September."