Washington Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin said Tuesday he's still planning to represent Russian Federation at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, even if the National Hockey League stands by its decision not to participate.
"It's biggest opportunity in life to play at the Olympic Games".
"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 US, there's no better hockey you're going to be a part of", Keith told ESPN.
The NHL reached a decision on Monday (NZT Tuesday) not to release its players for the Games, saying talks to find a solution to the problem of halting its league mid-season to accommodate the Olympics in the past had not been successful. "They owe it to our fans to make sure we have the type of season that we're supposed to have when we drop the puck on opening night and run through to the playoffs". "You want to be respectful of the team and your owner who pays you the money, but also you want to be patriotic every chance you can and play for your country", Keith said.
"The IOC policy can not be there to give more money, finances, to a commercially orientated owner of a club in a national league", Bach added, admitting that he had expected the NHL's decision.
"I'm not going to be able to go anymore", he said.
The chance may have vanished with the National Hockey League announcing on Monday that it's taking a pass on the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Whether it actually gets to that point remains a matter of some uncertainty despite the NHL's contention Monday that it considers the matter "officially closed".
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Many players, including Ovechkin, have already expressed a strong desire to compete.
Swedish forward Filip Forsberg of the Nashville Predators called it a "terrible decision" that he hopes changes.
Other schemes to recoup the costs reported by Sportsnet include having the IOC and NHL enter into an official agreement that allows the NHL to use trademarks like the Olympic rings in its marketing efforts, or to allow the NHL to share in the revenue generated by hockey at the Olympics.
Speaking to a reporter from InsideTheGames.biz at the SportAccord convention in Aarhus, Denmark, on Tuesday, Bach said, "We have to see".
Ovechkin responded as one might expect, reiterating his long-held stance that he'll attend the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, whether the National Hockey League decides to go or not.
With all due respect, they shouldn't have been there anyway. Canada was trying to do the same thing in hockey. "And I think all parties will continue to have discussions". But he also said that if there was anything substantial changing now, with that statement, he is always ready to discuss.
"It's a pretty good tweet, I thought.
The Pyeongchang Winter Games will take place in South Korea from February 9-25 next year.
Wild captain Mikko Koivu still remembers watching the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, from his home in Finland. In 2014, the International Olympic Committee agreed to cover insurance and travel costs for the players, which were approximately $14 million. "But I know everyone in Canada gets more up to watch Team Canada than even their favorite Canadian team for one of an 82-game schedule", Duchene said.