I think the talk of a 2011 World Cup have been placed on hold, since the NHLPA does not even have an Executive Director at the moment.
If they do have a World Cup, I hope that it is a legitimate tournament. It should be held in one specific region, and not all over the world. The NHL/PA want to maximize revenues, so I can understand them wanting to have dog games (for Canadian audiences) in Europe. However, the tournament becomes a bit of a sham when the European teams have to cross the Atlantic to play playoff games (like the Czechs and Finns did in 2004). Furthermore, because the tournament has been on one year, off the next, it has already been de-legitimized in the eyes of hockey players. Winning the tournament simply does not have the same value as World Championships anymore, IMO. It is part of the reason why so many good players dropped out of the 2004 World Cup, months to weeks before the tournament.
I think 2012 is a realistic expectation at this point, it's something that can be negotiated in the next CBA.
With the Olympics occurring in London in late July, I think the NHL would be more comfortable about doing it in 2012 than they were in 2008 (when the Beijing Olympics ended in late August). However, I think they are also scared off by the summer tournament because the NFL starts around Labour Day weekend, and that's when traditionally the Canada Cup/World Cups take place. The NFL has just become a behemoth over the last decade and completely swamps coverage of any other sports in the States. And ultimately, the NHL/NHLPA is out to do what is in the best interest for an American audience (hence the discussion over Sochi).
I was in Saint Paul for 3 games during the last World Cup, and I can tell you that although it was "best-on-best" hockey, the tournament received little coverage in the Minnesota newspapers. It is understandable, when the Twins are competitive and the Vikings are starting up, and the college teams are in the midst of their football seasons.
Problem is when World Cup or Canada Cup became an invitation tournament.
There is no sportsmanship in that then... What would be the system of invitation?
CAN, USA, RUS & SWE are locks? And what about Slovaks or Finns? Or even better Dannish, Swiss or Germany? What would be the system? Most NHLers in the team? IIHF ranking or just what "Bettman say"?
Many people dont realize that it s not good for the hockey making an elite club of four or seven or eight, but every hockey country should a chance to play on big tournament.