When the NHL released its 2021-22 regular-season schedule, it featured a Winter Olympics break Feb. 7-22 with the caveat that "no final agreement or decision has been made regarding the possible participation of players."

If the NHL doesn't send its players to the Beijing Games, it would switch to a revised schedule that will adopt as many dates from the current one as possible. But changing schedules this late in a truncated offseason would have a dramatic impact on NHL teams, which are already selling tickets and scheduling travel based on the current schedule.

"In my own conversations, there are some teams that are acting like this is Armageddon," an NHL team executive told ESPN this week.