Alex Ovechkin says he'll play in the Olympics despite NHL's stance

Posted April 09, 2017

Erik Karlsson called it "crap".

Alex Ovechkin isn't budging.

Captain Steven Stamkos, who like Hedman and Stralman has never participated in an Olympics, said he's disappointed as well. The league set up a poll asking fans if they were in favor of the NHL taking a break in February of 2018 so some of their players could compete in the Olympics.

"I didn't change my mind and I won't", Ovechkin said prior to Tuesday's Capitals-Maple Leafs game in Toronto.

For players, the Olympics are the biggest stage they will ever play on, aside from the National Hockey League, it is the greatest accomplishment to win a gold medal.

"I think that for two weeks out of the season, they can afford to let those guys go", said Bill Parks.

Home to the world's best ice hockey players, the NHL said on Monday that it's not been able to solve the problem of halting its league mid-season to accomodate the Olympics. Due to the NHL's recent decision, that dream becomes a bit more hard.

"They crushed a dream", Anton Stralman, the Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman, told reporters in Boston. "I don't know the answer".

"It was a little bit of a surprise for me".

The NHL is making a bad decision, based on money. But unless something changes, when the puck drops at the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the world's best hockey players won't be playing.

"It's disappointing that it looks like we're not going as of now".

Some players, however, have already said they would play in Pyeongchang no matter what and the NHL's decision also earned a rebuke from the players' union. "Of course we're interested in growing global, but three weeks every four years isn't what's going to make it".

"But we'll see. It's not in my hands. It's extremely disappointing, we'll see what happens and how the reaction goes but we're not too happy about it".

But the Washington Capitals stand to lose the most if its players decide to play in Russian Federation.

One team, the Montreal Canadiens, said it hadn't considered how it might react just yet.

"There was no comparison really, as far as energy and excitement to not only be part of a hockey team but being part of a larger group of athletes representing your country".

"It's my country. I think everybody wants to play there", he said.

If you're like me, there's no better hockey than Stanley Cup Playoff and Olympic hockey. Are Canadian sports fans going to get up at 3 a.m.to watch biathlon?

Bouwmeester wondered if the NHL's decision truly closes the door on the Olympics, or it's part of the posturing.

Carla Qualtrough says she's not sure how it would work, both contract-wise and for insurance purposes. "It's the one time you can bring every country together for something great". The Olympics have been an opportunity for the National Hockey League to showcase its talent on the worldwide stage. He was lucky enough to play for Canada in 2014, with a more prominent role likely waiting for him in 2018.

The NHL originally opted to interrupt its season to accommodate the Games in a bid to raise the profile of the game internationally. It remains hard to see the league ultimately spurning that opportunity, though what changes the equation is still a mystery.

Lichtner said the IIHF was focused on a five-year plan for the sport in Asia, leading up to the 2022 Beijing Winter Games in the coveted Chinese market. "From what I heard it was kind (of) typical negotiations, then it kind of came out of nowhere with the announcement".