Gary Bettman says shutting down the NHL season to play in the Olympics may not be worth it.
The NHL may not take part in the 2014 Olympics in Russia.
"It is a strain. It is a strain on the players, on the schedule and on our fans here." Bettman told Reuters.
"It has an impact on the momentum of the season and the benefits we get tend to be greater when the Olympics are in North America than when they're in distant time zones."
NHL players will take part in the 2010 games in Vancouver.
"Vancouver was an easy call because we're going to play the games in Canada," said Bettman. "Salt Lake City was an easy call. Japan and Italy might not have given us in terms of focus and attention and impact what we may have hoped from taking a 17-day break.
"I think after Vancouver we'll have to take a deep breath, debrief and make sure that when we balance the pros and cons from going to the Olympics, the pros exceed the cons if we're going to do it again."
The report also suggested the NHL is exploring the idea of playing more games overseas.
"Our experience in London was terrific," Bettman told Reuters. "There are rumors rampant that we might go to Prague or Stockholm next. We're looking at the options.
"I could envision at a point in time in the future to maybe go to a dozen different cities over time. There are lots of hockey markets with tremendously avid fans throughout Europe."
According to the report, Bettman mentioned Moscow, St. Petersburg, Helsinki and various German cities among the possibilities.