From the people who brought you The NHL Lockout, get ready for another zany romp, The 2014 Olympic Negotiations. Those who think getting NHLers to the Sochi Games will be as simple as reaching across the Atlantic to pluck low-hanging fruit got a rude comeuppance on the weekend. Rene Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, told CBC’s Scott Russell that “egos” are threatening the process of making a deal with the NHL on Sochi participation. By egos, could Fasel be suggesting members of the NHL’s happy gang who delayed the start of this NHL season till January? Does Don Cherry like a starched collar? The intimation is that the NHL is a greedy band of mercenaries demanding a king’s ransom from the sacred amateurs of the IOC. Fasel should talk. In case you haven’t noticed, the IIHF and Olympics don’t play well in the financial sandbox. It’s their way or the autobahn. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s strength has been in protecting the NHL brand over the years, allowing it to grow at a steady, unspectacular pace for his owners. The work of COO John Collins has only added to that brand enhancement.