Washington Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin wasn’t long piping up when he learned the possibility of the NHL not attending the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea next February. Ovechkin stated he’d play in the Olympics regardless of the decision between the NHL and National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA). The league’s proposal to the NHLPA was that they would send players to the Olympics only if they would agree to extend the current collective bargaining agreement through 2019. NHLPA executive director, Don Fehr, wasn’t having any part of that.
Gary Bettman and his league colleagues want to throw a pressure packed decision to the NHLPA over the Olympics? I understand there is the business side to the game, but to halt players from playing for their country on the international stage in a best-on-best tournament, come on man!! Nobody wants to watch a tournament full of former NHLer’s or amateurs on the international stage because no one wants to watch the ‘snail’ paced contests. The Olympics are meant to be played by the highest skilled players in the world. It would be a disappointing outcome otherwise because who else can participate in a highly skilled tournament. No other league comes to mind and really how much should go into this decision.
It’s a no brainer who should be there next winter. Many of you saw the results of the 2014 games in Sochi and the 2010 games in Vancouver and how much teamwork and passion went into playing there on route to two straight golden years. You can’t help but see the passion come from the likes of Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby because they care about being on the world’s stage and providing the entertainment value fans deserve in a great sporting environment. Those guys carry their skill over to the games and they never lose a beat. I believe that beat could be lost fast if the NHL doesn’t go to the Olympics. The competition level would be at an all time low if the big names aren’t playing. I don’t think you can ever fault a player for wanting to play for their country, however, if they can’t go to a sixth straight Olympics because of a ‘business’ deal then the league should be ashamed of themselves for not getting a proper deal done and dashing the great experience of the winter games. It’s once in a lifetime chance for many players.
Hey Fehr, get a respectable deal done with the league so hockey fans don’t have to feel the pain of an NHL player free Olympics. Ovi, made the right call because Bettman is not.