Russian Hockey Star Ovechkin Vows To Defy NHL, Compete In Winter Olympics

The league decided otherwise.

Several players have said they would go irrespective of the NHL's decision.

Ovechkin noted he's still hopeful the sides can reach an agreement for complete National Hockey League participation but finished that sentiment by reiterating, "In my mind, like I said already, I'm going". Even though the statement finished with the words, "officially closed", the rest of it read like a negotiating tactic.

The committee added that it "distributes 90 per cent of its revenue for the development of sport in the world", and therefore can not offer a national commercial league preferential treatment over non-profit International Sports Federations "which are developing sport globally". The league wanted to close the matter before the playoffs, which begin April 13.

The NHL is making a bad decision, based on money. A decent respect for the opinions of the players matters.

Most were just aghast at the NHL's decision. However, players are starting to express their disagreement with the decision. Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, who played in Sochi under Babcock, called it "very disappointing" and said it was short-changing younger players who hadn't got to experience it before.

The NHL is taking a shortsighted view if it is serious about keeping NHL players out of the Olympics. 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 going to do more damage to this sport than people realize, and whoever made that decision obviously doesn't know what they are doing".

But the International Olympic Committee said it could not go beyond the travel and insurance compensation offered for previous Winter Games.

Earlier, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman declared that team owners are against Olympic participation, mainly due to the 17-day break in the schedule required in February. National Hockey League owners also didn't like the idea of disrupting the season, citing concerns over a compressed schedule, and don't see enough benefits in bringing their product to South Korea.

Ted Leonsis has said many times that he'll support whatever decision Ovechkin makes.

"While we're disappointed NHL players won't be competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics, we know Canadians are passionate about hockey at all levels of the game", CBC said in a statement.

"It is a pity but it is not a surprise", ski federation president Gian Franco Kasper told The Associated Press. "As a player who takes a lot of pride in representing his country and who's done it before, I can only speak for myself". What would that rule look like and how would teammates react if the likes of Ovechkin and Kuznetsov bolted is another matter.

While Voracek's contract may be comparable to Ovechkin's, he doesn't think his place in the game is. "I had the belief that something might happen and something might change and you get to go".

"I think it's a awful thing", said Nathan Efonoff. "Everybody wants to go there".

Vlasic's tweet shows the five Olympic rings reorganized in the form of an asterisk, suggesting that next year's tournament in Pyeongchang will be meaningless without the inclusion of the world's top players. Two-time Olympic gold-medal-winner Sidney Crosby said it was disappointing.

While Hockey Canada hasn't said exactly how it will ice a team without NHL involvement, Canada's sport minister remains confident the country can still be competitive. "We will always try to do the best for ice hockey — and this is put the best players on the ice and let them play, because they want it".

The NHL had participated in every Winter Olympics since the 1998 Nagano Winter Games.

Players turned that down.

Best on best is certainly preferable but it's the stage that makes the games so exciting and not just the players.

"I'm shocked", a man named Alex said on Whyte Avenue.

  • Todd Kelly