The NHL’s announcement that it won’t send players to the 2018 Winter Olympics had little impact on Alex Ovechkin‘s stance.
The Washington Capitals captain has claimed in the past that he’ll play in the Olympics whether the NHL allows players to participate or not, and on Tuesday – ahead of his club’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs – he stuck to his word.
“Yeah, I didn’t change my mind. I’m still going,” Ovechkin said, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.
“Somebody going to tell me don’t go, I don’t care, I just go,” Ovechkin added, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.
Evgeni Kuznetsov hopes the NHL still allows them to go but if not, says he intends to still go to South Korea. “it’s in the heart,” he said
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) April 4, 2017
Despite the uncertainty, and that the league has reportedly directed teams not to talk about the possibility of players still participating, one thing Ovechkin has going for him is support from Capitals owner Ted Leonsis.
Leonsis went public in October stating that if Ovechkin wants to play in the games, he’ll allow him to do so.
“What’s the worst that could happen? We’ll get fined or something,” Leonsis said. “I hope it doesn’t get to that. But I’ve got to have my captain’s back, and I will.”
It will now be interesting to see if fellow players follow Ovechkin’s lead, and what exactly the NHL will or can do to stop them.