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

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With the entire Leaf organization seemingly on lock down, forbidden to discuss their looming post-season adventure or the hot button topic of the National Hockey League pulling out of the 2018 Winter Olympics, the Washington Capitals star gave the morning skate some meat. They (the NHL) just want to do a big story about it because it's their plan. "Obviously, they (NHL) wanted more money or whatever; we do not know what they really wanted", International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said.

It's awful for the sport, not just because of the big-picture opportunity lost but because of what it might do to future labor negotiations.

However, Overchkin was the most outspoken of the players, saying he still plans to play for Team Russia in the 2018 Winter Olympics, even if he is the only National Hockey League player to do so.

"I disagree with the short-sightedness of this whole thing, too". The league has not always been fond of the scheduling during these years, and is one of the leading factors to the decision. It's a grand stage, the grandest of them all, and to have that opportunity denied is leaving a sour taste. If you can see the schedule is not going to the Olympics, then you don't bluff. "You can say whatever".

"I think it's a great opportunity to grow the game", Kane said.

The Olympics will still feature hockey, but the roster will be made up of other players.

"We're not going to give up something ridiculous", Faulk said recently.

With NHL's decision, star players like Sidney Crosby, who helped Canada clinch gold medals in 2010 and 2014, was set to skip the 2018 edition, while some Russian players in NHL still hoped to feature in Pyeongchang despite their clubs' concern.

Avalanche center Matt Duchene still thinks the Olympics loom larger. "That doesn't happen very often to get that chance".

"I don't understand the decision".

On the flip side, Capitals' goalie Braden Holtby says he wouldn't leave the team to go play in the Olympics.

Unlike Ovechkin, however, Toews said he would not defy the league. Take away the best players on the planet and Olympic hockey is no longer an enticing draw for spectators and sponsors. On top of all that, it's good for hockey to have the best players in the world at the Olympics. "Of course we're interested in growing worldwide, but three weeks every four years isn't what's going to make it". He reiterated that to the media on Tuesday. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that players can get that cooperation from the league. Former Toronto Maple Leafs forward Brandon Prust was a bit more direct toward Gary Bettman.

"It's a tough position as a player".

"As a player, the level of hockey there (I know it's high in the playoffs, but.) when you're in a one-game-takes-all and you're on Canada playing the USA, there's no better hockey you're going to be a part of", Keith told ESPN. "It's a tough decision". I think that'll be based on the individual. The NHL not taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympics could be a blunder that will be hard to recover from.

Although the NHL could be using Monday's announcement as a bargaining chip in search of a better deal, the league's statement said, "We now consider the matter officially closed".

"Hopefully not set in stone; hopefully something could be reached. If somebody's gonna tell me not to go, I don't care - I'll just go". "It's disappointing to see the decision but hopefully it can be salvaged".

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