Ovi Released A Statement About Not Playing In The Olympics And He's PISSED (As All NHLers Should Be)
For as long as there has been an issue about whether or not NHL players would be allowed to participate in the 2018 Olympics, Alex Ovechkin has always said that he will, no matter what, be playing. This declaration took a sharp 180 yesterday when Ovi, under pressure from the IOC, NHL, and IIHF, released a heated statement, basically giving up hope that he will be able to play for Russia in the upcoming games:
NHL - “I wanted to make this statement so that my words are clear and nobody misunderstands what I am saying. The Olympics are in my blood and everybody knows how much I love my country. Ever since I was a kid and all the time I have played in the NHL, NHL players have played in the Olympic Games. We never have to make choice between our team and our country my whole career. I love the Capitals and my teammates here as much as I love my country and I know all the other NHL players feel the same for their teams. We should not have to be in position to make this choice.
My mom was a two-time Olympic champion and when I start to play hockey I dream that if I have chance to play for my country I will do it every time they ask me. Ever since I was teenager I have played for Junior Russia National team whenever they ask me to. Ever since I was good enough to play on Men’s National Team, whenever they ask me I play. When they ask me to be part of Olympics Closing Ceremony in Vancouver before Sochi get the Olympic Games I said ok let’s do it. When they ask me to be Ambassador for Sochi Olympic Games I did it. When they ask me to go to Greece and be first Russian to carry Olympic flame on way to Sochi I do it. When they ask me to play in World Cup I do it. I am proud that we win on Junior team and for the National team in World Championships but we do not win the most important thing yet. Olympic Gold Medal.
I see the news this week and I am very disappointed that IOC, IIHF and NHL put me and all NHL players in this position when some of the best players in world do not have chance to play in the Olympic Games. 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. Our countries are now not allowed to ask us to play in the Olympics. 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 Olympics. It sucks that will we not be there to play!!
I said every time I was asked since last Olympics that nobody is going to tell me I can’t play because my country was going to be allowed to ask me. Now the IIHF and NHL say my country is not allowed to ask anybody in the NHL to play and there is nothing to talk about anymore. I talk to Ted about this last year and he support me and have my back and understand what I want to do if I was allowed to be asked to go. Me and my family thank him for his support.
There is nothing like Olympic Games. It is still my dream to win an Olympic Gold medal for my country. I hope things will change and all of us will have a chance to go again in 2022. What’s most important to remember is kids have lots of dreams. My focus as it always is this time of year is on my other dream as a kid, to try to win the Stanley Cup. I am excited training camp has started in Washington and the time for talking is done. We just have to go out and do it and I will try my hardest to help my teammates win like I do every year since I came to the NHL.”
It’s a complicated issue, but I definitely understand Ovi’s side of it. He’s always been proud to represent Russia, no matter what. He grew up dreaming of winning a gold medal. It is meaningful to him. And really, not just to him, but to a ton of players, to play for their country. And it is a huge loss for fans of hockey too. Remember how awesome those Team USA watch parties were 4 years ago? The Oshie shootout to beat the Russians? Watching NHL players on the wide rink, and rooting like h*ck for the US of A to get a gold, there’s nothing else like it. So I completely empathize with Ovi here. It means a ton to him to play for Mother Russia, and his dream of winning a gold has been stripped from him. It has to sting.
But I guess selfishly for me, this means he won’t be leaving the Caps midway through the season. Our Year, back and stronger than ever!