National Hockey League stars express sadness - and a dare - over Olympics ban

As a parade of NHL superstars expressed their displeasure with the league's decision Monday to not participate in the 2018 Olympics in South Korea, Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic sent out a tweet that he insists is a good summary of his opinion on the matter.

The IOC said Tuesday it "feels very sorry for the athletes", but could not give the National Hockey League special favors.

"They can make up all the excuses for not going, player health, I don't think they really care about that", he said.

The committee added that it "distributes 90 per cent of its revenue for the development of sport in the world", and therefore can not offer a national commercial league preferential treatment over non-profit International Sports Federations "which are developing sport globally".

The International Olympic Committee believes the world's best ice hockey players will be hugely disappointed at the NHL's decision to schedule no mid-season break to allow them to take part in next year's Winter Olympics. "On the other hand, you've got the owners paying us a lot of money".

The league put out a statement saying it will not stop the 2017-18 season to allow players to participate in the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

"It's disappointing that it looks like we're not going as of now".

"I think the players know it's very important for us to represent our countries", the Washington Capitals star said last month. "We know we want to be number 1 in the world and when we play in those series we play for that".

This decision will impact nearly every major hockey-playing nation with the Sweden, Finland, Russia, United States and Canadian teams nearly entirely made up of NHL players. "I had the belief that something might happen and something might change and you get to go".

But it had for the past five Winter Olympics. When word arose that an agreement might not emerge for the 2018 Olympics, Washington's Alex Ovechkin became the most prominent of stars to suggest he might compete in South Korea, regardless of what happens with the National Hockey League.

"Taking into consideration the NHL decision, it doesn't mean we will refuse completely to draw in the players from this league", Znarok told R-Sport agency, adding: "The NHL decision will in no way affect the Russian team's preparations for the Olympics".

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist called the news "disappointing", saying the league is missing an opportunity to market the game overseas.

"It's a great thing for hockey to be grown at that Olympic level". Matt Duchene said Sidney Crosby's golden goal against the United States in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver was one of his biggest moments as a hockey fan. Subban said. "I'm not the one who makes those decisions".

While Voracek's contract may be comparable to Ovechkin's, he doesn't think his place in the game is.

"I'm disappointed", Kessel said.

The NHL had participated in every Winter Olympics since the 1998 Nagano Winter Games.

The NHL's abrupt decision on Monday to pull out of the Olympics - and the way the league handled the issue over the past year or two - has both sides hurtling toward another potential lockout.

  • Julie Sanders