Photo: Sov Sport
Wednesday, Alex Ovechkin won his seventh career Kharlamov Trophy as the best Russian player in the NHL. During the subsequent press conference, Ovechkin was asked about a wide variety of topics including the NHL’s participation in the 2018 Olympics.
While the NHL has sent its players to the Olympics since 1998 (fast fact via Chuck Gormley), there is growing speculation that the NHL will not participate in the 2018 Games held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“The fans want to see the best players in Pyeongchang,” Ovechkin told R-Sport, as translated by Igor Kleyner. “My opinion is even if something doesn’t work out, our guys will go to Korea for sure.”
“The same situation was with the  Sochi Games, they said NHL could not be allowed to come,” Ovechkin said. “I hope the sides will reach an agreement. Anyway, I and other players will definitely come [to the Olympics in 2018].”
Ovechkin made the same vow before the 2014 Olympics, which were held in Sochi, Russia. Ovechkin even got support to go from Capitals’ owner Ted Leonsis with or without a deal.
In three Winter Olympic appearances, Ovechkin has never won a medal. Ovechkin has stated that winning a Stanley Cup and an Olympic gold medal are his ultimate goals. His mother Tatyana, a basketball player, is a two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Meanwhile, International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel told The Associated Press in April that the IIHF has started the process of consulting players and officials over a new agreement, but added that it is a “long process” and “will not be easy.” The IIHF must reach a deal with NHL officials, the NHLPA, and the International Olympic Committee. Insurance for player injuries is a perennial sticking point. A deal for the Sochi games was reached seven months before the 2014 Olympics started.
Next year, the NHL is also bringing back their own international-styled tournament, the World Cup of Hockey.
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