Alex Ovechkin: Players shouldn't be forced to choose between NHL and Olympics

In a statement released through the Washington Capitals this week, Alex Ovechkin reiterated once more his disappointment in the NHL for not allowing players to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics, saying players "should not have to be in [a] position to make this choice" between their league's preferences and an opportunity to play in the Pyeongchang Games.

The statement might very well have been intended as a final, begrudgingly crafted acceptance of the NHL's repeated nixing of Olympic participation. Ovechkin notes that "there is nothing to talk about anymore" now that, according to him, both the league and the International Ice Hockey Federation "say my country is not allowed to ask anybody in the NHL to play" in South Korea.

But it isn't without plenty of jabs at the league for prompting Ovechkin to make a statement in the first place.

"I see the news this week, and I am very disappointed that IOC (International Olympic Committee), IIHF and NHL put me and all NHL players in this position when some of the best players in (the) world do not have chance to play in the Olympic Games," the longtime Capitals winger said. "This is not just about me but all the NHL players who want to play and have a chance to win gold for their country ... Me, my teammates and all players who want to go all lose. So do all the fans of hockey with this decision that we are not allowed to be invited. NHL players in the Olympics is good for hockey and good for (the) Olympics. It sucks that will we not be there to play."

Ovechkin's ire isn't the first to surface this offseason. NHL MVP Connor McDavid went on record in July to say he was "really upset" about the league's decision not to break up its 2017-18 season for the Olympics, and Ovechkin headlined a handful of outspoken critics when news of the NHL's plans first surfaced in April. At one point, it was even reported he might sideline himself for nine Capitals games in order to participate in the Olympics in spite of the NHL's repeated public stance on the Games.

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