National Hockey League 'not looking to negotiate' stance on Olympics: Bettman

“Olympics, thats what a lot of kids dream about.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has repeatedly stated that there is no tangible benefit to the league shutting down its season for more than two weeks in February - a time when football is over and baseball hasn't started - and there's obviously a huge risk of losing a player to injury in global play.

There are some NHL players such as Washington's Alex Ovechkin who say they will be going to South Korea regardless of the league's stance.

The NHL and the NHL Players Association have been at odds for years over Olympic participation. "I don't care, I just go". The league deemed the matter, "officially closed" in its statement on Monday but players are hoping is is not the end of it. This is the NHL's decision, and its alone. "It's in the heart", he told reporters.

"Yeah, I didn't change my mind", Ovechkin said. He tweeted it was "disappointing for all the players that can't be part of the most special adventure in sports".

Russian and Capitals teammate Evgeni Kuznetsov echoed Ovechkin, saying he, too, plans to go either way, though he said his thoughts at the moment were elsewhere: on Monday's bomb attacks in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The NHL ownership class ultimately made the decision.

"I was really surprised", said winger Zach Parise, who won a silver medal in 2010 and was captain of the 2014 USA team. "Of course we're interested in growing global, but three weeks every four years isn't what's going to make it. We'll see though. Maybe they'll let us go".

"Our owner (Ted Leonsis) understands", Ovechkin added. One of the best in the league, Ovechkin isn't likely to back down.

The quality of competition certainly will suffer next winter, but just what National Hockey League players can do about it isn't clear.

The IOC, NHL and International Ice Hockey Federation stalled in their talks regarding finances.

"It was probably the biggest honor of my life being picked for that team, just alone", Duchene said. "Not to be able to do that is disappointing but there's a lot of people higher up making those decisions".

"They won't be able to get an worldwide transfer card, needed to compete in global events", the Russian hockey official added. I think for players, going to the Olympics is a privilege.

"I loved going", said Toronto winger James van Riemsdyk, a force for the Americans in 2014. "That doesn't happen very often to get that chance".

I'm not sure if I'm thinking quite that far ahead yet.

If you are anything like me, you remember exactly where you were when Sidney Crosby scored the golden goal that sent an entire country into a Stanley Cup-worthy celebration.

For many it was the patriotic opportunity on the grandest global stage that was too alluring to pass up.

The men's Olympic hockey team won the gold medal for Canada in 2014 in Sochi, Russia. National Hockey League players are patriotic and they do not take this lightly.

Beyond that, players have described the Olympic opportunity as one that, without question, would help the game grow globally. The 13-hour time difference between South Korea and the US Eastern Standard Time zone has also been cited as an issue.

The NHL, which recently announced pre-season games in China next season, was recently informed by the International Olympic Committee that if failed to participate in 2018 then 2022 was off the table.

  • Zachary Reyes