Alex Ovechkin says he still plans to go to Olympics, could skip nine Caps games

It doesn't matter how many times the NHL reiterates that it won't sanction player participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics or break up the regular season, Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin wants to play in Pyeongchang.

And the veteran winger still plans on doing just that, according to a report from Russia's Sport-Express.

A longtime advocate for the NHL's presence at the Olympics, Ovechkin has been among the chief spokesmen for players wanting the opportunity to play in the Pyeongchang Games, saying in the spring he might participate against the wishes of the league. Now, even after NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly emphasized the league's stance at the end of July, the Russian star is still intending to go to the Olympics, per the Sport-Express report.

Ovechkin, the report adds, hopes the NHL will change its mind and allow him to go to South Korea. But if the league is anything like it's been in the face of backlash from other prominent players -- including reigning MVP Connor McDavid -- it's not going to budge. And if the Capitals standout were to stay true to his word and go to the Olympics, he would likely sideline himself from nine regular-season games, according to Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post.

All of this comes during a week in which the Olympics conversation has refused to die in hockey circles.

The United States men's ice hockey team, specifically general manager Jim Johannson, has been openly campaigning for potential NHL retirees to join his Olympics roster. And the NHL, despite contradicting suggestions from the American Hockey League earlier this summer, has said it won't allow even players on minor-league and two-way contracts to participate in the 2018 Games.

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